WVU men’s soccer secures berth in NCAA quarterfinals for first time since 1981

Gold and Blue Nation

Mountaineers advance thanks to corner kick goal in double overtime

Head coach Dan Stratford and WVU men’s soccer secured another historic win Saturday night in Oklahoma — and they did it in dramatic fashion. 

After 101 minutes of scoreless action between No. 11-seed West Virginia and No. 6-seed Tulsa, freshman midfielder Otto Ollikainen scored on a corner kick to give the Mountaineers a 1-0 victory on a golden goal. 

Sophomore midfielder Ryan Crooks and fifth year defender Kevin Morris were credited with assists on the winning goal.

“That’s a very good team that we’ve just beaten,” said WVU coach Dan Stratford of Tulsa. “I thought that once we showed that we could set up the high press, they had to change. And they did a little bit.

“We had to grind this out. We had to fight and dig really, really deep. The biggest message they had going into tonight was to have no regrets. From that perspective, it was unbelievable.”

The Mountaineers (12-3-5) held a 10-8 advantage over Tulsa (16-2-1) in shots, including 7-2 in shots on goal. WVU also had a 6-4 edge in corner kicks.

For the second postseason match in a row, WVU played two periods of extra time. In the second round, the Mountaineers advanced on penalty kicks against Virginia Tech. This time, they sealed a win in double overtime, securing the program’s first berth in the NCAA quarterfinals since 1981. 

WVU has never reached the quarterfinals in the tournament’s current 48-team format. It is now 8-14-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament action.

Ollikainen’s tally was the first of his WVU career. The native of Helsinki, Finland, became West Virginia’s 14th goal scorer on the season. 

In addition, goalkeeper Steven Tekesky tied the program record in career starts by a goalkeeper (80) and career wins (45) on Saturday. He also made his 82nd career appearance for the Gold and Blue, which stands alone as No. 1 among goalkeepers in the WVU record book.

WVU (12-3-5) will face either No. 3 Georgetown or Providence in the quarterfinals. After a bye, the Hoyas advanced to the round of 16 by beating Georgia State, the team that knocked West Virginia out of the MAC tournament earlier this month. Meanwhile, Providence advanced to the round of 16 by upsetting reigning national champion Marshall. 

If Providence defeats Georgetown, WVU will host its quarterfinal match at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium at a date and time to be determined. If the Hoyas win, they’ll host in the quarterfinals.

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