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WVU, Marshall play to 2-2 draw in men’s soccer

HUNTINGTON –The No. 4-ranked WVU men’s soccer team played to a 2-2, double-overtime draw at No. 6 Marshall on Friday night.

In a battle of two top 10 squads at Hoops Family Field, the Mountaineers held a pair of leads in the match, before the Thundering Herd answered twice to secure the tie. Senior forward Yoran Popovic and sophomore forward Ciro Bourlot Jaeggi found the back of the net for WVU in the hard-fought effort on the road.

“This was a great advertisement for college soccer and for the state of West Virginia,” WVU coach Dan Stratford said. “Those were two, top-five teams; it was a fair reflection of where we are, and it was a really interesting game.

“I’m just proud of the players. This was a new challenge in my tenure with the program. We’ve obviously had good results at home against ranked opponents, but this was the first time we’ve really had to go into someone else’s environment and see what we’re made of. I’m really pleased that 3,000 people here had a good time, and so did everyone else watching it.”

After fifth-year senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky made a pair of routine saves to begin the night, WVU (4-0-2) opened the scoring with Popovic’s first career goal in the 17th minute. Junior midfielder Luke McCormick earned the assist to put the visitors on top, 1-0.

Less than two minutes later, however, Marshall (3-1-2) found a quick equalizer off a corner kick to make it 1-1. It stayed that way until the 42nd minute when Bourlot Jaeggi grabbed the lead back for West Virginia with his second goal of the year. The tally was set up in the midfield by fifth-year senior midfielder Pau Jimenez Albelda, before he dished it off to senior forward Tony Pineda.

The Mountaineers led 2-1 after 45 minutes.

In the second half, Marshall leveled it again in the 60th minute, thanks to a free-kick goal from the outside corner of the box. Then, sophomore midfielder Ryan Crooks hit the crossbar in the 74th minute, nearly giving WVU its third lead of the night. That proved to be the Mountaineers’ last big chance in regulation.

The Herd created multiple scoring threats in the final third to begin the first overtime period, including a shot on goal that challenged Tekesky into a diving stop to keep WVU alive. The Raymore, Missouri, native finished with four saves on the night.

It was WVU’s turn to nearly win it in the second overtime, as redshirt sophomore defender Bjarne Thiesen’s header attempt was saved near-post by the MU keeper, as was a shot fired by freshman defender Frederik Jorgensen just minutes before the final whistle.

Overall, Marshall held a 15-9 advantage in shots, as well as 6-5 in shots on goal. Both teams tallied five corner kicks.

Thiesen and senior defender Aaron Denk Gracia led the way for WVU with a pair of shots each. With the draw, the Mountaineers moved to 16-6-2 all-time against Marshall, including 6-4-1 in Huntington. Of note, Friday marked the first time West Virginia traveled to Marshall for a regular-season match since 2003.

WVU returns home to take on Dayton on Tuesday at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. It marks the start of a three-match homestand for the Mountaineers. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.