Men’s soccer Mountaineers take down second straight ranked foe

Gold and Blue Nation

WVU center back Bjarne Thiesen passes a ball from the midfield during the Mountaineers’ preseason scrimmage against Charleston on Aug. 21, 2021. (Photo: Sam Coniglio)

The West Virginia University men’s soccer team earned a 3-1 win over No. 17 Penn State on Friday night at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

Playing in front of 1,484 fans, the Mountaineers earned their second consecutive win over a top-20 opponent with the result. Redshirt sophomore defender Bjarne Thiesen scored the game-winning the goal in the 53rd minute, while freshman defender Frederik Jorgensen (34th) and fifth-year senior midfielder Pau Jimenez Albelda (89th) also found the back of the net in the victory.

The win marked the first time WVU has defeated back-to-back ranked opponents since Oct. 18-21, 1998.

“I was pleased with how we finished the (first) half by taking the lead,” WVU coach Dan Stratford said. “When we scored the second, it felt like it could turn into a game that could’ve gotten away from (Penn State), but hats off to them and their effort. They fought their way back into the game to get it to 2-1.”

WVU (3-0) went a man-up in the 23rd minute, after a Penn State player was booked for his second yellow card of the night and was sent off. From there, the Mountaineers earned plenty of scoring chances, beginning with a near-goal in the 28th minute off a header by junior forward Tony Pineda.

However, the opportunity was saved by the PSU goalkeeper to keep the match scoreless.

In the 34th minute, though, WVU opened the scoring with Jorgensen’s goal. The Aarhus, Denmark, native buried a shot after receiving the ball inside the box off the foot of junior midfielder Luke McCormick. The tally marked the first of Jorgensen’s career.

West Virginia went on to outshoot Penn State (1-1-1), 7-2, in the first half.

Up a goal and a man, the Mountaineers doubled their lead early in the second half when Thiesen won a header in the air off a corner kick. Redshirt sophomore midfielder/defender Sergio Ors Navarro was credited with the assist on the score, which made it 2-0.

Moments either, WVU was forced to clear a ball off the line, marking the first big, scoring chance for Penn State on the evening. But the Nittany Lions wouldn’t go away, cutting their deficit to one with a goal in the 83rd minute, reigniting some pressure on the hosts.

Just minutes later, though, Jimenez Albelda put the finishing touches on the win with a well-struck goal, following a beautiful pass from senior defender Aaron Denk Gracia in the back line.

In all, WVU held a 16-8 advantage in shots, including 9-4 in shots on goal. Jorgensen led the squad with a pair of attempts, both of them on frame.

West Virginia also topped PSU in corner kicks, 6-4.

In goal, fifth-year senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky made two saves in the win, including the 200th of his career. With the victory, WVU improved to 9-20-2 against the Nittany Lions all time, including 5-1-1 since 2006. Prior to Friday night, the two squads hadn’t met since 2015.

Next up, the Mountaineers return to action on Monday, Sept. 6, when they take on Loyola (Maryland) at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.

For more information on the Mountaineers, follow @WVUMensSoccer on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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