Herd men’s soccer begins six-game road match streak, heads to No. 5 Charlotte

The Marshall University men’s soccer team returns to action  Saturday, Oct. 12 against University of North Carolina-Charlotte 49ers. 

The Herd (8-1-1, 3-0-0 C-USA) is on a four-game win streak with victories over Akron, Old Dominion, Dayton and University of Alabama at Birmingham.

In its last two matches, Marshall has successfully shutout both Dayton (2-0) and UAB (6-0).

The Herd is ranked No. 27 in the United Soccer Coaches/NCAA poll.

Senior midfielder Jonas Westmeyer said he hopes the team wins against Charlotte after having two days off to get capacity and energy back in order to prepare for the upcoming game.

“First of all, hopefully we win on Saturday,” Westmeyer said. “That’d be huge. It would be our fourth conference win in a row. It would give us a boost in the rankings since Charlotte is highly ranked. I think we’re going to start preparing with video and practice. Then, we’re going to be well prepared for Charlotte, I’m sure.”

Charlotte (8-0-2, 3-0-1 C-USA) is ranked No. 5 in NCAA Division I polls. The 49ers are on a five-match victory stretch defeating UAB, Wofford, South Carolina, Furman and Florida Atlantic.

For the Herd, senior defensive player Illal Osmanu earned Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week. In the last two wins, Osmanu helped the Herd’s defense and held Dayton and UAB back from scoring. This was his first time receiving the award.

“I think that we are ready for them (Charlotte) this year,” Osmanu said. “I just want us to win that game because it’s going to be really good for us. I think those home games we won was getting us ready for that because we have a good momentum for it on the bounce. That’s a really good confidence booster going into the Charlotte game. We want to beat them this year.”

As for the 49ers, freshman forward/midfielder Axel Sigurdarson earned Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week. Sigurdarson helped lead Charlotte’s offense and even scored the winning goal against Furman, 2-1. He scored the first goal in the team’s 3-1 win at Florida Atlantic. Sigurdarson has scored a goal in three straight games.

This will be redshirt senior goalkeeper Paulo Pita’s first time playing against the 49ers due to an injury during last season.

“I think it’s a big one, especially because they are ahead of us nationally ranked,” Pita said. “I feel like the whole team; we are looking forward to this match just to prove ourselves and to prove to everyone that we have a spot on top of the table. Charlotte is a really physical team. We’re trying to find a way that we can break those lines, make sure we score and keep the clean sheet.”

Following its first road contest against the 49ers, the Herd will travel to California to take on Loyola Marymount and San Diego State. After, Marshall will travel closer to home as it goes to Wright State before heading to Boca Raton, Florida against FAU, and Rochester, Michigan to face Oakland.

The Herd will return home for one final home match of the season against  No. 16 Kentucky before heading down south to face  No. 15 Florida International University.

First kick is set for 7 p.m. at Transamerica Field in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Taylor Huddleston can be contacted at [email protected].