MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Despite not putting the ball in the back of the net off the foot of one of its own players, WVU (8-0-3, 1-0-2 Sun Belt) finished its home nonconference matchup against the Loyola Greyhounds (3-1-7, 3-0-1 Patriot League) in a 1-1 draw.
“I thought we did enough, firstly,” WVU head coach Dan Stratford said. “I thought we did enough to probably win the game. I just said [to the team] we got to be a little bit more selfless and a little bit more dynamic with the movement off the ball. Maybe a pass instead of a dribble a couple of times. But yeah, we’ve hit the post. We’ve hit the crossbar. We’ve created other opportunities. We’ve got into the penalty area a good amount…My biggest disappointment, honestly, is that we were in the lead.”
The Mountaineers manufactured a little luck to gain a 1-0 advantage in the 24th minute of Wednesday’s match With sophomore forward Marcus Caldeira darting towards the goal the Loyola goal to field a cross from junior forward Yutaro Tsukada, Greyhounds’ defender Jordy Luchies intercepted the bass, but his touch found the back of the Loyola net for an own goal and the 1-0 Mountaineer advantage.
Ten minutes later, the Greyhounds found the equalizer off the right foot of freshman midfielder Giovanni Marquina into the top right corner of the goal off assists from freshman midfielder Tyler Tucker and senior defender Thomas Gray. It was Marquina’s first goal of the season on just his third shot on goal of the year.
WVU nearly found a pair of go-ahead goals in the second half when Caldeira and Tsukada both struck the post on offensive chances, but neither yielded an easy enough rebound to warrant a put-back goal.
“There will never be a season in my coaching career that if someone offered me 7-0-1 in nonconference I wouldn’t take it, or 8-0-3 to start your season, I wouldn’t take it, so we can’t feel too sorry for ourselves,” Stratford said.
This was the first time WVU finished nonconference play undefeated in a full season since Stratford took over as head coach in 2020.
WVU returns to Sun Belt action Sunday against James Madison (4-3-3, 0-2-1 Sun Belt) at 4 p.m. at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown.