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West Virginia, Marshall set for second-round match

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia men’s soccer team is playing better than it has at any point this season over the last two weeks.  

Still, the Mountaineers may need their best performance yet to keep going.

Winners of four straight matches since the Mid-American Conference Tournament began, West Virginia will be in Huntington today to face No. 11 seed Marshall at Hoops Family Field.

Kickoff is set for 2 p.m., with a live stream available on ESPN3.

“Marshall’s season has been nothing short of phenomenal, and they’ve certainly earned the national seed that they were awarded,” WVU coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “We’re expecting a big environment at their place with lots of excitement.”

The Mountaineers (10-8-2) and Herd (15-2-3) are meeting for the first time since 2014.

After defeating SIU Edwardsville, Akron and Bowling Green to qualify for the NCAAs, West Virginia handled Butler in Thursday’s opening-round match, 5-1. 

Sophomore forward Josh DiMatteo and freshman forward Rodrigo Robles Grajera each scored twice, while senior midfielder Andres Muriel Albino was responsible for the game-winner in the 36th minute.

West Virginia tied a season high with 21 shots in the victory, including 15 on goal. The five goals were the most the Mountaineers have ever scored in an NCAA Tournament match and the road victory was the program’s first in the NCAA Tournament since 1981.

With the win, the Mountaineers advanced to the second round for the second consecutive season and eighth time in program history.

Robles Grajera paces West Virginia with nine goals and 21 points on the season. McCormick’s team-leading nine assists rank No. 11 in the country and No. 1 nationally among freshmen.

In goal, junior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky has a MAC-best six shutouts.

West Virginia will need a strong effort from Tekesky to contend with the Herd offense, which is seventh nationally with 44 goals.

Feshman forward Milo Yosef, the 2019 C-USA Offensive MVP, leads the team with 11 goals and 25 points.

Senior goalkeeper Paulo Pita was named the C-USA’s Co-Golden Glove Award winner and has 64 saves. Marshall enters No. 12 nationally in save percentage, at .815.

Third-year coach Chris Grassie was named the 2019 Conference USA Coach of the Year after helping guide Marshall to its first NCAA Tournament appearance.

Marshall is 7-1 at home this season, but has not beaten the Mountaineers since 2000

West Virginia leads the all-time series 15-5-1.

The winner of Sunday’s match advances to play No. 6 Washington or Boston College in the Sweet 16 on Nov. 30 or Dec. 1.

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