In front of a record-breaking crowd of 2,126 people, the Marshall University men’s soccer team defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at Hoops Family Field.
This match was the first appearance for the Herd and will advance the team to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.
“I think it was a great game,” Herd Assistant Coach Petsa Ivanovic said. “We created a fantastic atmosphere. We brought the community together and that’s what it’s all about, and playing beautiful soccer as well.”
Marshall (16-2-3) scored early in the 10th minute as junior forward Jamil Roberts received a pass from defender/midfielder sophomore Collin Mocyunas to put the Herd up early, 1-0.
The Mountaineers (10-9-2) answered back in the 39th minute as Logan Lucas found the back of the net to tie the game, 1-1.
Then, in the 43rd minute, redshirt freshman forward Milo Yosef headed in the Herd’s second goal of the match with an assist from senior midfielder Jonas Westmeyer to put the Herd up 2-1 going into halftime.
“It’s a big thing for the whole program,” Yosef said. “To be fair, I think the ball would have went in without me. I just tried to, you know, strike the keeper a little bit. Got a deflection off my hair and it went in.”
Throughout the second half, the score remained 2-1 as the Herd defense continued to guard the net. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Paulo Pita recorded one save for Marshall.
Mountaineer goalkeeper Steven Tekesky had two saves.
“I feel like everyone was waiting for this game. The whole state, we’re big time rivals,” Pita said. “But games like that, we just need to make sure we don’t get emotional and think about that we’re rivals. Now we just enjoy the win.”
Marshall continues to make history with its soccer program as Pita and the team are battling their way to the national title.
“It’s amazing, especially for me. I take it very personal,” Pita said. “When I came to Marshall, I made it clear that I was going to transfer to a top Division I soccer program because I wanted to make the next level. When I committed to Marshall a lot of people were like, ‘Why are you going to Marshall?’ Now, the answer is here: because this is a top Division I soccer program.
The Herd tallied more shots (11-8), shots on goal (4-2) and corner kicks (11-4) over West Virginia.
The Herd now awaits the winner of the Washington and Boston College matchup in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament.
Taylor Huddleston can be contacted at [email protected]