WVU men’s soccer takes on Georgia State in Thursday matinee

Gold and Blue Nation

The West Virginia University men’s soccer team welcomes in Mid-American Conference newcomer Georgia State on Thursday, Oct. 28, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. ET.

Admission to the afternoon tilt is free for all fans.

Fans who are unable to attend the match can follow along with live stats at WVUsports.com. The match also can be seen live on ESPN+, with Nick Farrell and Adam Zundell on the call, as well as heard on 91.7 FM in Morgantown.

“With the nature of what it is we’re looking to do, it starts with a win (on Thursday),” WVU coach Dan Stratford said. “I think the players understand the challenge that has been set requires one match at a time.

“It’s a good game for us from an RPI prospective. (Georgia State) has had a good season, so we know it will be a tough game, and we know it will have implications – not just for the regular-season title – but as another feather in our cap when it comes to an NCAA Tournament resume.”

Thursday marks just the second meeting between the Mountaineers (8-2-4, 1-1-1 MAC) and Panthers (10-4, 2-2 MAC). In the two programs’ only prior matchup, WVU topped GSU, 1-0, on Oct. 19, 2013, in Morgantown.

The Mountaineers are seeking their 500th win in program history on Thursday. Since beginning play in 1961, WVU has gone 499-405-11 with 14 NCAA Tournament appearances and seven conference titles. Of note, Stratford has been a part of 95 total victories at WVU as a player (2004-07), assistant coach (2011-13) and head coach (2020-present).

Last time out, WVU used three, second-half goals to power it to a 3-1 win over Elon on Oct. 23, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in the squad’s 2021 non-conference finale. After conceding an own goal in the first half, redshirt sophomore defender Bjarne Thiesen found the equalizer off a corner kick in the 56th minute. From there, West Virginia cashed in on a pair of penalty-kick goals by sophomore forward Ciro Bourlot Jaeggi and fifth-year senior midfielder Pau Jimenez Albelda in the 75th and 85th minute, respectively.

In all, WVU outshot Elon, 14-3, in the win, including 8-1 in shots on goal. Additionally, fifth-year senior defender Kevin Morris made his 85th appearance in the Gold and Blue against the Phoenix, which tied for the most career matches in program history. The Mt. Airy, Maryland, native is set to break the WVU record on Thursday.

In the polls, the Mountaineers checked in at No. 10 in this week’s TopDrawerSoccer Top 25, as well as No. 19 by College Soccer News. The squad also received votes in the United Soccer Coaches poll.

Senior forward Yoran Popovic leads the Mountaineers with four goals on the year. In goal, Tekesky enters the match ranked No. 8 nationally in goals against average (.665) and No. 16 in shutouts (6).

Stratford is 75-9-10 as a head coach, including 14-5-5 with the Mountaineers. He also is 5-4-2 in MAC matches at WVU since taking over the head-coaching role.

Georgia State is led by 12th-year coach Brett Surrency, who is 120-85-16 with the program. Last time out, the Panthers fell to Northern Illinois, 2-1, on Oct. 23, in Atlanta.

GSU is 6-2 on the road this season, outscoring its opponents, 18-9, in those contests. Prior to this season, the Panthers played their men’s soccer in the Sun Belt Conference.

Offensively, Ethan Sassine leads the squad with six goals, while Ross Finnue has a team-high four assists. George Proctor, the 2020 Sun Belt Player of the Year, has seven points (3G, 1A) in 2021.

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

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