WVU men’s soccer hoping for NCAA Tourney birth

By Ryan Decker 

The West Virginia men’s soccer team’s complicated regular season concluded last weekend.

The Mountaineers (8-7-1) finished the regular season with back-to-back losses after winning a pair of games the week prior, which halted a four-game losing streak.

Since, WVU has waited. With no conference tournament for the Mountaineers to build their case for the postseason, they left it up for the committee to decide.

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Action between WVU and UMBC earlier this season.   Photo by Ryan Decker

They learn their fate today.

“This team is square on the bubble,” head coach Marlon LeBlanc told Amanda Mazey last Monday on Inside the 18. “We were well inside the bubble before. Now we’re square on the bubble. Our resume is strong and we hope we get another opportunity to play.”

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WVU’s Felix Angerer (8) heads the ball against a pair of Maryland defenders.   Photo via WVUsports.com 

West Virginia started the regular season very promisingly, beating then-No. 7 Georgetown 1-0 which started a string of seven-consecutive games without conceding a goal.

Midway through the year, the Mountaineers had lost just once, and were playing very well. Then the calendar flipped to October and the narrative changed.

West Virginia struggled to score goals, scoring just twice during a four-game skid.

Despite the near-.500 record, LeBlanc gives his case for why his team should be in the ‘dance’.

“You’ve got to give our guys credit for the way they fought all season. And they fought all season long,” he told Mazey. “We challenged ourselves all season long. We’ve beaten some great teams. This team has dealt with quite a bit of adversity.”

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WVU’s full regular season schedule. The Mountaineers are hoping a few games get added to this schedule with the NCAA Tournament announcement Monday.   Graphic via WVUsports.com 

The Mountaineers played to a 2-2 record against ranked opponents, playing three teams ranked inside the Top 10.

West Virginia was also 5-6 against teams that finished the season with records at or above .500, including losing just 1-0 to a Maryland team that was No. 1 in the country and has yet to lose a game this year.

WVU had a winning record on the road and also split a pair of games played at a neutral site at the beginning of the year. On the down side, however, LeBlanc’s team was just 1-5 against conference opponents.

Four Mountaineer players earned all-conference honors.

Midfielders Jad Arslan and Joey Piatczyc each were named to the All-MAC First Team, while fellow midfielder Felix Angerer and defender Jack Elliot were named to the All-MAC Second Team.

West Virginia will officially know their postseason fate Monday at 1 p.m.

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