This match had a little bit of everything, except for some goals.
West Virginia men’s soccer played its first match in the Sun Belt Conference on Friday against Coastal Carolina, finishing 0-0 at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
Two contrasting teams clashed on the pitch as WVU’s high-pressure, high-speed style of play competed with Coastal’s slow and physical method. 17 fouls were called in the game between the two teams, while five different players were booked.
“I think it’s what you’re going to expect from Coastal, that’s the way they play,” said WVU coach Dan Stratford. “It’s ugly at times but effective. You have to respect that that’s their identity….But I thought we were really disciplined, I thought we managed our frustrations quite well when their head coach is telling them to slow the game down after 10 minutes.”
West Virginia managed to fight through the physicality and create chances for itself, testing goalkeeper Joey Batrouni six times throughout the match. They also won the corner kick battle 7-2.
On the other end, WVU goalie Jackson Lee was forced to make just two saves.
“We’ve had enough chances to win the game, so this game feels even more like one from last year where we keep a clean sheet, we don’t necessarily look like conceding, we still create enough chances but we want more and then don’t quite execute in some of those key moments in the penalty area to get over the line.”
Stratford added that it was difficult to criticize his team after the result despite the desire for three points, and expressed confidence that it could produce a better result should it face Coastal in the Sun Belt Tournament.
“That shows some respect for us and what they think of us as a team that they know that they have to come here and be the team on the back foot and try and win that way,” Stratford said. “That’s not how we do it, I’m not sure that’s how all of their players want to do it, but they got a point and they’ll be pleased with it.”
West Virginia puts its Sun Belt slate on pause for its next fixture as it flies across the country to take on Portland. The 13th-ranked Pilots finished their first five matches unbeaten and earned a ranked win against No. 15 UCLA last week.
Kickoff is set for 10 p.m. ET on Monday.