The CSUN men’s soccer team was unable to overcome two early goals as they fell to the West Virginia Mountaineers 2-1, Sept. 2 at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown, W. Va.
The loss is the Matadors’ first of the season and puts their overall record at 0-1-1. The loss was enough to knock CSUN out of Soccer America’s top 25 where they were ranked 22nd after tying UCLA last week.
West Virginia comes from a Big East Conference that featured three top 10 teams in the preseason rankings, including Notre Dame, Connecticut and Southern Florida.
“They’re tough, they play the Big East,” head coach Terry Davila said of West Virginia. “They’re not afraid to play us.”
The Mountaineers jumped ahead quickly, scoring in the third minute of the game. Midfielder Dan Stratford chipped a ball over a Matador defender to set up midfielder Andy Wright for the first score of the game.
Stratford and Wright once again proved to be a nuisance for the Matadors, helping the Mountaineers pull ahead 2-0 in the 20th minute of regulation. Stratford and Wright assisted Jarrod Wright in scoring West Virginia’s second goal.
CSUN turned on the pressure in the second half. An unassisted goal sent into the top corner of the net by Matador forward Fergie Agwu in the 56th minute cut the lead to one. The goal also snapped a 355-minute scoreless streak held by the Mountaineers. It was the first goal allowed by West Virginia this season.
The Matadors continued their attack. Shot attempts by defender Chad Borak in the 63rd minute, defender Michael Clegg in the 71st, forward Moy Gomez in the 73rd and midfielder Sean Franklin in the 77th were foiled by Mountaineer goalkeeper Nick Noble.
The Matadors saw plenty of scoring opportunities but were unable to take advantage. They out-shot the Mountaineers 11-6 in the first half and 11-3 in the second half.
“They finished off their opportunities,” Davila said. “I felt we were a little bit rushed and a little impatient.”
Defender Matt Tracy led the Matadors with four shots, while seven other Matadors recorded two shots a piece.
CSUN was unable to take advantage of corner-kick opportunities as well. The Matadors had eight attempts to the Mountaineers’ two.
Noble, who earned goalkeeping honors in the Big East Conference Sept. 4th, contributed to CSUN’s missed opportunities, recording five saves.
Guppy recorded three saves in the game. Last week, Guppy was named to the Soccer America National Team of the Week as well as Big West Player of the Week for his nine-save performance against UCLA.
Next, the Matadors head to Albuquerque, N.M., for the New Mexico Crescent Financial Solutions Invitational. They will face Oakland in their first game of the Invitational before facing New Mexico Sunday in a rematch of last season’s post-season match-up that brought the Matador playoff run to an end.