COLUMBIA, S.C. – The West Virginia University men’s soccer team went ahead early before finding the game-winner late to secure a 3-2 victory at South Carolina on Thursday evening. The Mountaineers remain unbeaten at 9-0-4 and improve to 2-0-3 in the Sun Belt while the Gamecocks fall to 4-6-2 and 2-2-1 in conference action.
Senior Luke McCormick scored the lone goal of the first half before the two teams combined by for four goals in the second half. Sophomore Marcus Caldeira scored his Sun Belt-leading ninth goal of the season while senior Yutaro Tsukada secured the game-winner, his fourth goal of the year.
The Mountaineers outshot South Carolina, 16-11, including a 12-5 advantage in shots on goal, the most shots on target for WVU since tallying 15 against Butler in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks had a 6-4 edge in corner kicks.
West Virginia got off to a fast start as McCormick and senior Sergio Ors Navarro executed a perfect give-and-go in the sixth minute with McCormick putting the ball in the back of the net for the third time this season.
The Mountaineers had four additional shots on goal in the first half but could not get any more past keeper Ben Alexander as WVU settled for a 1-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Mountaineers doubled their lead early as McCormick led the attack in the 52nd minute with Tsukada and Caldeira running on each side of him. McCormick tried giving it to Tsukada, but it was knocked away by the Gamecock defender. Fortunately for the Mountaineers, the ball went straight to Caldeira, who headed it into the open net.
The comfortable two-goal cushion for WVU did not last long as South Carolina scored twice in three minutes, evening up the match in the 59th minute.
As they have done most of the year when giving up a goal, the Mountaineers answered, retaking the lead in the 71st minute on a goal by Tsukada. His shot looked to be saved by Alexander, but it went through his hands and into the back of the net.
With the win, the Mountaineers move into second place in the Sun Belt, only behind undefeated and No. 1 Marshall. West Virginia will get its shot against the Herd in its next contest on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.