The West Virginia University men’s soccer team wraps up the 2022 regular season with a trip to Georgia Southern on Friday, Oct. 28. The Sun Belt Conference matchup at Eagle Field – Erik Park in Statesboro, Georgia, is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Friday night’s match marks the second all-time meeting between the Mountaineers (5-6-4, 2-1-4 Sun Belt) and Eagles (1-12-1, 0-6-0 Sun Belt). In the two schools’ only other encounter, WVU took down Georgia Southern, 5-0, on Oct. 31, 2021, on the road.
Three of West Virginia’s five shutouts have come against conference opponents this season. Additionally, the squad has scored 14 goals in the last five matches.
Last time out, WVU earned a 3-2 win over Georgia State on Oct. 23, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown. Junior midfielder Ryan Crooks opened the scoring in the second minute, before the Mountaineers scored back-to-back goals by senior midfielder Luke McCormick and freshman forward Marcus Caldeira in the 50th and 52nd minute, respectively.
WVU recorded a season-best 21 shots in the victory, while limiting the Panthers to just nine. With the win, West Virginia extended its current unbeaten streak to six matches (3-0-3).
Crooks has scored in back-to-back matches for WVU, while Caldeira also recorded an assist with his goal against Georgia State. Elsewhere, junior forward Yutaro Tsukada has posted an assist in four of the last five matches.
The Mountaineers enter Friday’s fixture with 10 points, good for a tie for third place in the Sun Belt standings. WVU is two points shy of the No. 1 spot.
A trio of Mountaineers – Caldeira, Crooks and redshirt senior midfielder/defender Dyon Dromers – are tied for the team lead with three goals each. Crooks’ five assists and 13 points are tops in those categories.
In goal, junior goalkeeper Jackson Lee has registered 22 saves in 12 starts this season.
Third-year coach Dan Stratford is 23-12-11 with the Mountaineers, as well as 84-16-16 in his head-coaching career. With a win against Georgia Southern, Stratford would record his sixth straight .500-or-better campaign as a head coach.
Georgia Southern is led by seventh-year coach John Murphy. The Eagles are winless at home this fall, with the squad’s lone victory of the campaign coming on Sept. 13, at North Florida (1-0).
Georgia Southern played one season in the MAC with West Virginia in 2021, before it rejoined the Sun Belt this year. Sam Odame co-leads the Eagles in goals (3) and is No. 1 on the team in assists (2) and total points (8).