MORGANTOWN — The No. 4-ranked WVU men’s soccer team earned a 3-0 win over Dayton on Tuesday night at a rainy Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
Senior forward Yoran Popovic opened the scoring with a 20th-minute goal, before redshirt sophomore defender Kyle Lehnert doubled the lead in the 77th. The Mountaineers also added a late, third tally off a Flyers own goal.
The win bumps WVU’s season-opening unbeaten streak to seven matches, the team’s best start to a campaign since 2006.
“This was pleasing,” WVU coach Dan Stratford said. “We knew (Dayton) was going to come with a lot of energy to start the game. I thought after about 15 minutes, we settled in, and then it was about making sure we got the second goal. It took a little longer than what I would’ve liked, but I’m very pleased with how we came out in the second half.”
After Popovic put a pair of early shots on frame, the Zuidlaren, Netherlands, native got the Mountaineers on the board in the 20th minute when he found a loose ball in front of goal. It marked his second goal in as many games, as well as his first career game-winner.
West Virginia (5-0-2) went on to hold a 9-3 advantage in first-half shots but took just a 1-0 lead into the locker room for halftime.
In the second half, sophomore midfielder Ryan Crooks nearly doubled the lead in the 67th minute with a direct free kick from the top of the box. However, the chance sailed just high.
Then, Lehnert, who also made his first start of the campaign on Tuesday, took on a pass from across the box off the foot of fifth-year senior midfielder Pau Jimenez Albelda to make it 2-0. Along with being his first career goal, Lehnert also became the 10th different Mountaineer to score for the squad this season.
In the 88th minute, Lehnert appeared to put another ball on frame, following a skillful pass from Popovic. That’s when a UD defender misplayed a clearance, resulting in an own goal.
Dayton (3-3-2) was held without a shot attempt in the second half and became the first WVU opponent to finish without a single shot on goal since Princeton on Sept. 3, 2016.
The Mountaineers, meanwhile, finished with a season-best 18 shots and held a 7-0 advantage in shots on goal. WVU also recorded an 8-5 edge in corner kicks.
Popovic led the way with four shots on the night, including three on frame.
In goal, fifth-year senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky earned the clean sheet, his fourth of the season and 24th of his WVU career. Additionally, he moved into sole possession of No. 2 in career wins (38) in program history.
With the win, West Virginia improved to 3-1 against the Flyers all time. The club also improved to 4-0-1 at home this fall.
Next up, the Mountaineers continue their three-match homestand by playing host to St. Bonaventure at 7 p.m. Saturday at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.