Dealing with Championship Expectations

Before a record-breaking crowd, Marshall University’s men’s soccer team went the distance on Friday against the West Virginia Mountaineers. Although the game ended in a 2-2 draw, MU’s players and coaches could not be more enthused with the support of the 3,033 fans in attendance. 

Marshall defender Max Schneider said the greatest takeaway for the team was seeing the Herd Nation’s turnout. “The atmosphere definitely helped us coming back after every goal conceded it was so important and we would appreciate if the support in the next games will be the same,” Schneider said. “Obviously, that was a rivalry game against WVU and so I understand that is something important for the people here and we are very thankful for that.” 

“It was absolutely terrific, I am so happy that everyone came out to support us it makes such a big difference,” Marshall head coach Chris Grassie said. “It’s such a phenomenal environment, it’s such an intimidating atmosphere and it’s going to be our 12th man so hopefully we can create enough of a good time, and they had enough of a good time to come back again Tuesday and next Saturday against Kentucky with two huge matchups coming up.” 

The 3,033 fans saw a thrilling matchup between in-state rivals. WVU broke the ice by scoring the game’s first goal in the `17th off the foot of Yoran Popovic. Marshall returned the favor less than two minutes later, when senior Pedro Dolabella fired in his third goal of the season. WVU took its second lead of the game just before halftime, with a goal from Ciro Bourlot Jaeggi. Marshall’s Max Schneider then scored the final goal of the contest, on a free kick in the 60th minute of the contest. That goal was Schneider’s first goal of the season, the senior defender also recently won C-USA defensive player of the week.  

After such a big game against WVU, the Thundering Herd’s schedule does not get any easier. Next for the Herd is a matchup against Akron, the #7 team in the nation. After that, Marshall will face a third consecutive ranked opponent in the #14 Kentucky Wildcats.  

The Herd will be looking for continued support from the fans who just helped set a new school record in attendance. This week will be another opportunity for soccer fans in Huntington to see two high-powered collegiate teams battle it out on the soccer pitch.