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Broughton’s late goal lifts WVU men to 2-1 win over Vermont in national tournament

MORGANTOWN — The West Virginia men’s soccer team defeated Vermont 2-1 in the third round of the NCAA men’s soccer tournament on Saturday afternoon in front of a sold out crowd at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

A late goal by defender Max Broughton in the 83rd minute made the difference for the Mountaineers (16-2-4) on their way to a program-record 16th win of the season. Broughton rose to meet a corner kick that was delivered into the box by fellow defender Freddy Jorgensen and placed a header into the back of the net.

The Mountaineers earn their second appearance in the round of eight in three years.

“We talked a lot to the guys about the success we’ve had this year and all that we’ve accomplished, and here we are hosting an Elite Eight game,” WVU head coach Dan Stratford said. “Having the chance to play at home at the deepest opportunity possible in the tournament is huge and I know the guys will be excited for the chance to make history next week as well.”

The Mountaineers got the scoring started early in the first half as the opening goal came with just over three minutes played. WVU forward Marcus Caldeira won a ball in the midfield and played a perfect pass into the path of a sprinting Yutaro Tsukada. The left-winger flicked the ball over the goalie and tucked the ball into the far corner of the net to give his team a 1-0 lead in the game.

Vermont (13-6-2) did well to not let WVU add to the lead, as the momentum gained from the opening goal nearly saw another scored shortly after.

With just over half an hour played, the Catamounts found the equalizing goal off the foot of Carter Johnson who worked the ball into the middle of the field from the right wing. He rifled the ball toward the goal with his left foot and a slight deflection allowed the ball to float over WVU keeper Jackson Lee and into the net to tie the game at one goal each with just under 15 minutes to play until halftime.

“I thought we started the game well and thought we were the better team for the opening 25 minutes,” Stratford said. “(Vermont) grew into the game the longer it went on and their style of play kind of became the recurring theme. They carried on that momentum into the beginning of the second half but we had the grit and resilience that we needed when we needed it also.”

The Catamounts saw the majority of the offensive possession through the first 15 minutes of the second half but both teams had chances inside the opponents 18-yard box that came up empty.

Just as it seemed both sides were slowing the pace down in order to avoid conceding a crucial goal, the Mountaineers broke through by way of two defenders.

After a corner kick was won with less than ten minutes left in regulation, Freddy Jorgensen whipped the ball into the box with his left foot and it was met in the air by Max Broughton and put into the back of the net.

A late save by WVU keeper Jackson Lee preserved the 2-1 lead and saw the Mountaineers through to their second Elite Eight in three seasons.

“I thought we managed the final 10 minutes well,” Stratford said. “We’ve done those things well all season that we have to do late in the game to win; blocking shots, putting your body on the line. You can’t help but watch the clock a little bit but for the most part we were confident to see the match out.”

The Mountaineers will play host to either James Madison or Loyola Marymount Saturday Dec. 2 at 2 p.m.