The No. 21-ranked West Virginia University men’s soccer team concludes its four-match road trip by traveling for a non-conference matchup at No. 6 Kentucky on Tuesday, Oct. 19, in Lexington, Kentucky. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.
“There are few opportunities better than this one to help close out a long road trip,” WVU coach Dan Stratford said. “We’re excited to compete against a very good Kentucky team in a game that certainly will have major RPI benefits for both sides at the end of the year. We’ve stepped up in these types of games all season, and I’m confident we’ll be able to do it again.”
Tuesday marks the first-ever meeting between the Mountaineers (7-1-4, 1-1-1 MAC) and Wildcats (8-0-3, 2-0-3 C-USA). The two sides are set to become conference foes when WVU joins Conference USA in 2022.
Overall, WVU is 26-11-6 all-time against current members of C-USA, including 0-0-1 this season. West Virginia played to a 2-2 draw at then-No. 6 Marshall on Sept. 17, in Huntington.
Last time out, West Virginia earned a come-from-behind, 2-1 win at Western Michigan on Oct. 16, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. On a chilly, windy day at the WMU Soccer Complex, the Mountaineers scored two goals in the final 15 minutes of the match to complete their comeback.
After the Broncos opened the scoring in the 72nd minute, senior forward Ike Swiger found the equalizer in the 76th to make it 1-1. From there, sophomore midfielder Ryan Crooks scored the game-winning goal – the first of his career – in the 88th minute, helping the Mountaineers to their first Mid-American Conference victory of the season.
WVU outshot Western Michigan, 8-7, including 5-4 in shots on goal.
In the polls, the Mountaineers were placed at No. 9 in this week’s TopDrawerSoccer Men’s Top 25, as well as No. 13 by College Soccer News. Both polls were released on Monday.
Additionally, WVU checked in at No. 21 in last week’s United Soccer Coaches Division I Top 25 Poll. This week’s edition of the poll is due out on Tuesday afternoon.
Twelve different Mountaineers have combined to score WVU’s 20 goals this fall. Senior forward Yoran Popovic leads the way with four tallies on the year.
In goal, fifth-year senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky ranks No. 8 in the nation in shutouts (6) and No. 9 nationally in goals against average (.621). He is one of two Mountaineers to play all 1,160 minutes this season, joining fifth-year senior defender Kevin Morris.
Stratford enters Tuesday’s match with a 74-8-10 record as a head coach, including 13-4-5 with the Mountaineers. What’s more, he’s 8-0-3 in non-conference matches at WVU.
Kentucky is led by 10th-year coach Johan Cedergren, who is 110-53-27 during his time in Lexington. The Wildcats enter Tuesday’s matchup at 8-0-3 on the year, including 6-0 in non-conference action and 5-0-1 at home.
One of the top defensive teams in the nation, Kentucky has only allowed four goals all season. The squad ranks No. 2 nationally in goals against average (.343).
Luke Andrews and Eythor Bjorgolfsson co-lead the Wildcats with three goals on the year.