Herd soccer begins its National Title defense by going 1-1 in the opening week of play

The 2021 regular season is underway for the reigning national champion Marshall Men’s Soccer Team. Marshall, fresh from a historic championship, looks to continue its newfound success on the soccer pitch.  

After a historic season, there are new expectations for the team. The first test on the schedule for the Herd, came in the form of No. 21 ranked James Maddison University. Marshall dominated the season opener against the Dukes, showing an impressive offensive output. The Marshall offense scored six goals, winning the game 6-1.  

“Tonight we went through a lot of adversity in a number of different ways,” JMU Head Coach Paul Zazenski said. “We had our chances going forward and didn’t capitalize when we needed to. They had eight shots on frame and scored six, which is what good teams do.” 

Marshall also had to fight through a two hour and 32-minute lightning delay before the match could begin.  

“Great focus from the guys tonight,” Zazenski said. “A lot of stoppages with the lightning. We had to kickoff more than two hours late, but they maintained focus and were really disciplined.” 

Marshall Senior Victor Dias scored two goals and had two assists in the season opener. Earlier this month, United Soccer Coaches announced Dias was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. Dias was a finalist for the award last year after a tremendous season where he helped lead Marshall to the National Championship. After leading Marshall in goals and assists last season. 

After opening the season with a victory, Marshall fell 3-2 in its second game of the season against No. 15 ranked Virginia Tech. Marshall opened the game with a 2-0 lead, and Victor Dias opened the scoring with his third goal of the season nine minutes into the game. Senior midfielder Vinicus Fernandes scored the second goal of the match, giving Marshall the 2-0 advantage that held into halftime, but the Hokies owned the second half, scoring three consecutive goals. Two of the three goals for Virginia Tech were penalty kicks. Fouls were a significant factor in determining the game’s winner. 

The next step for Marshall comes this Saturday against a third straight ranked opponent. No. 25 ranked Coastal Carolina will travel to Huntington to face Marshall for the Herd’s home opener of the 2021 season. The game will start at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hoops Family Field.