The West Virginia men’s soccer team is set to begin its season on Thursday night, hosting the Robert Morris Colonials at home for an out of conference battle.
The Mountaineers are coming off a historic season, reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament in 2021 before losing to Georgetown in Washington D.C. on penalty kicks.
This has resulted in newfound high expectations for the program, as the Mountaineers have been ranked as high as No. 5 in the country headed into the season.
The success of last season coupled with the return of nine players who started a significant portion of games last season has led to these expectations, but the Mountaineers still have a few question marks.
The Mountaineers have lost three starters from their 2021 team, and will have to replace them in the lineup. Dutch striker Yoran Popovic who started 12 matches and scored the second-most goals (five) on the team last season has departed to play professionally in the Netherlands.
Fortunately for the Mountaineers, Argentine striker Ciro Bourlout Jaeggi, the Mountaineers’ leading scorer last season (six goals) is still with the program and can be an easy in-house replacement.
The biggest question marks are how they will replace a pair of five-year starters, goalkeeper Steven Tekesky and centre back Kevin Morris.
Following Wednesday afternoon’s practice, WVU head coach Dan Stratford announced Jackson Lee, a junior transfer from George Mason, will start at goalkeeper against Robert Morris.
However, Kevin Morris’ replacement has not yet been announced, with the new starter in that position being Dyon Dromers, Kyle Lehnert, Noah Gold, or Malo Blondeau.
The Colonials are coming off a 5-11-1 (4-5-1 Horizon League) season which ended in a loss in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament to Milwaukee.
Robert Morris is led by a pair of sophomores, English forward Bryan Akpogo, the 2021 leading scorer for the team, and 2021 All-Horizon League Freshman defender Noé Bijou.
The game will begin at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. and streaming available on ESPN+. U92 will also broadcast the game on the radio on 91.7 FM.