MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After his sensational performance in the win over No. 1 Marshall, WVU sophomore forward Marcus Caldeira is the NCAA Player of the Week in men’s soccer.
Caldeira notched a hat trick against the previously unbeaten Thundering Herd, catapulting No. 5 West Virginia to a 5-2 win in the 26th Mountain State Derby. That trifecta was the first by a Mountaineer since Andy Bevin scored three against Buffalo on Nov. 1, 2014.
Early in the first half, the sophomore from Canada netted two goals in less than 30 seconds to stun the Thundering Herd and allow WVU to take a 3-1. He completed the hat trick with a superb left-footed lob over the keeper in the 65th minute.
Caldeira is the Sun Belt Conference’s leader in goals with 12. As of Wednesday afternoon, that number also is tied for second in the nation, trailing Akron’s Jason Shokalook (13).
A record crowd of 3,147 fans watched Thursday’s rivalry match at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
The result marked the end of Marshall’s perfect streak, and allowed WVU to extend its unbeaten streak to 14 matches, the longest single-season streak in program history. It may also have opened up a title race in the Sun Belt.
With three matches remaining, Marshall still leads the conference with 15 points, UCF remains in second place with 13 points and West Virginia sits in third place with 12 points.
Up next, WVU hits the road for back-to-back games, with the first coming up against Coastal Carolina on Sunday at 7 p.m. The Mountaineers play their final regular season home game Oct. 31 against Old Dominion.