MORGANTOWN, W. Va — West Virginia men’s soccer earned its second straight win after dominating Lehigh at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium 3-0 on Tuesday.
Coach Dan Stratford’s minor tactical change — switching his team’s formation from a three-back to a four-back — seems to be working as the Mountaineers pull off a second consecutive clean sheet with multiple goals. Freshman striker Marcus Caldeira especially enjoys the new shape after scoring in his second straight match.
“Those elements of what we’re doing in the system now that hopefully are getting some of our attacking threats in maybe some slightly better positions and some positions they’re more comfortable with, and I think it paid dividends on both the first and the second goal,” Stratford said.
After a “flat” start to the first half from WVU by Stratford’s standards, Yutaro Tsukada took a rip from the edge of the box to open the scoring. That was Tsukada’s first official goal of the campaign, however he did take the shot in the season opener that led to WVU’s first score (it was officially listed as an own goal.).
Caldeira gave WVU a fast start out of the halftime break, scoring just 42 seconds into the second half with the help of Tsukada and Adam Burchell. The striker now leads the team with three goals, all of which have been scored since Oct. 8.
Sergio Ors Navarro completed the scoring with his second of the year, fighting through a crowd of defenders to put WVU up three.
On the other end, WVU’s defence kept its third straight clean sheet. Marc Bonnaire earned his second career start as WVU’s goalkeeper and has yet to allow a goal in his collegiate career.
“We hope that he took confidence from what he was able to do at ODU,” Stratford said. “There were a few things that we helped him with to refine and minimize any type of…unnecessary risk, and there will be other moments today where he can do that even more, but again, something to build off for him so he can be really, really pleased with the work he’s done.”
The Mountaineers complete their non-conference schedule with the win and only face Sun Belt opponents until the end of the campaign. The remaining four games start with arguably WVU’s toughest opponent of the season, No. 2 Kentucky.
Kickoff between the Mountaineers and the Wildcats is set for 7 p.m. ET at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.