The AU men’s soccer team only attempted three shots Sept. 15, and the lack of firepower resulted in a 2-0 loss against West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia (4-2-1) dominated possession early in the match, testing AU goalkeeper Billy Knusten within the first five minutes of play. Eventually, the Mountaineers pressure proved too much for the AU back four.
“We lost to a very good West Virginia team tonight,” AU head coach Todd West said. “I still think we have a quality team this year, so we will strive for a good week of training to prepare for the opening Patriot League war against the defending champions.”
Eric Schoenle scored his second goal of the season in the 34th minute to put the Mountaineers up 1-0. Shadow Sebele received a pass at the top of the box and sent a cross to the far post that a streaking Schoenle headed by Knutsen for the goal.
“It’s always good to get the first goal,” Uwem Etuk told WVU Athletics. “We had plenty of shots today, the chances were coming through and we put them away. It’s probably our most complete performance of the season.”
AU (4-3) had its lone shot on goal in the 39th minute, as Charlie Hunter’s side volley had pace but was sent into the hands of WVU goalkeeper Pat Eavenson. The Eagles were outshot 19-3 in the match.
Etuk added the insurance goal in the 58th minute, creating separation from the AU defense and sending the ball into the lower left corner of the net from 15 yards out for a 2-0 WVU lead.
“Today was probably a picture of how good this team can be,” West Virginia head coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “The football was excellent and the passing was excellent. We even had a spell where we put together 20 or 30 passes at one stage.”
The Eagles played an even second half but could not generate an offensive spark and failed to score for the first time this season. For AU, this was the final match before beginning Patriot League play.
The Eagles will start conference play this weekend when they travel to Hamilton, N.Y., Sept. 22 to take on Colgate in a rematch of the 2011 PL Championship.
The Raiders are one of the few teams in the league that could take the regular season title. Others include Army, with two-time Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week Winston Boldt, as well as Bucknell, who won the league in 2009 and 2010. The Eagles will face Bucknell and Army Sept. 29 and Oct. 6, respectively.
AU has reached the Patriot League Championship three years in a row, losing all three times. With Alassane Kane and Colin Seigfreid leading the team with nine points each, the Eagles could finally get the monkey off their backs in 2012.