MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University men’s soccer team continues play at the 2022 Sun Belt Men’s Soccer Championship with a semifinal matchup at No. 2 Kentucky on Wednesday, Nov. 9. Kickoff at the Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Kentucky, is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Wednesday’s match marks just the third all-time meeting between the No. 4-seeded Mountaineers (7-6-4, 3-1-4 Sun Belt) and the top-seeded Wildcats (12-0-5, 5-0-3 Sun Belt), including the second this season. The two schools played to a thrilling, 3-3 draw on Oct. 15, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown.
WVU is looking for its first-ever win over UK, which holds a 1-0-1 edge in the series.
The winner of Wednesday’s match moves on to play in the Sun Belt Championship Final against the winner of the league’s other semifinal matchup, featuring No. 3 Georgia State and No. 7 James Madison, on Sunday, Nov. 13, at a site to be determined.
Last time out, the Mountaineers earned a 1-0 win over fifth-seeded Coastal Carolina in the Sun Belt Quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon in Lexington. Freshman forward Marcus Caldeira scored the game-winning goal in the 70th minute off an assist from fifth-year senior forward Adam Burchell.
In goal, junior goalkeeper Jackson Lee made three saves, including a critical denial in the 84th minute to preserve the WVU lead.
The result marked West Virginia’s first conference-tournament victory in the coach Dan Stratford era. It also extended the squad’s current unbeaten streak to eight matches.
The Mountaineers have scored 18 goals in the last seven matches. The team has found the back of the net at least three times in five of those fixtures.
Redshirt senior midfielder/defender Dyon Dromers and Caldeira co-lead the squad with five goals each. Caldeira also is tied with junior midfielder Ryan Crooks for No. 1 on the team in total points (14).
West Virginia is 20-17-3 all-time in conference tournament play. The squad has won five tournament titles, most recently in 2019, when WVU took home the Mid-American Conference Championship crown.
Overall, Stratford is 25-12-11 with the Mountaineers, as well as 86-16-16 in his head-coaching career.
Kentucky is led by 11th-year coach Johan Cedergren, the 2022 Sun Belt Coach of the Year. UK, the No. 1 seed in the SBC Championship, is ranked as high as No. 2 in this week’s United Soccer Coaches poll, its highest ranking in program history.
The Wildcats won the Sun Belt regular-season championship after posting a 5-0-3 mark in league play. The squad took down No. 8-seeded South Carolina, 2-1, in its quarterfinal match.
UK is ranked inside the nation’s top 10 in a variety of offensive categories, including goals (No. 7 – 43). Five Wildcats have tallied five or more goals this season, led by Eythor Bjorgolfsson’s nine tallies, while Nick Gutmann is the nation’s leader in assists, with 14.