West Virginia men's soccer faces in-state rival No. 4 Marshall

The West Virginia men’s soccer team has a chance for a win that can turn around what has been a disappointing season so far, travelling inside the state of West Virginia face the No. 4 Marshall Thundering Herd on Saturday.

The Herd continue their success under sixth-year head coach Chris Grassie, who is now 60-29-15 in Huntington after a 4-1-1 (0-0-1 Sun Belt) start to the 2022 season.

Under Grassie, who coached at Division II University of Charleston from 2011-2016, the Thundering Herd went from a below .500 program in Conference USA in 2017, to winning a national championship in the 2020 season.

The Mountaineers have had recent success of their own, reaching the 2021 NCAA Tournament quarterfinals under current head coach Dan Stratford, who is in his third year as head coach at WVU, previously winning two national championships at Charleston after succeeding Grassie. 2022 hasn’t been as kind to the Mountaineers, sitting at 2-4-1 (0-0-1 Sun Belt).

Marshall was picked to finish second in the Sun Belt in the Preseason Coaches Poll, narrowly behind West Virginia who were picked to finish first. The Thundering Herd have four players who earned selections to the Preseason All-Conference Team, Milo Yosef, Vinicius Fernandes, Gabriel Alves and Oliver Siemmle.

Yosef, a 6’2 redshirt senior forward, has 19 goals and 13 assists in 52 starts for Marshall, and won a national championship in 2020 in addition to numerous accolades including 2021 First Team All-Conference USA honors in 2019 and 2021.

Fernandes, a fifth-year midfielder, has played in 80 games for Marshall, scoring 18 goals and 18 assists, earning 2021 Second Team All-Conference USA honors and 2020 NCAA All-Tournament Team honors during Marshall’s championship campaign.

Alves, a junior left back has started 40 of the 41 matches he’s played for Marshall, winning a national championship as a freshman and earning freshman All-Conference honors in 2020 and All-Conference Tournament honors in 2021.

Semmle, a fifth-year goalkeeper, has been a three-year starter, also starting for two years at two junior colleges before coming to Marshall in 2020. During his first season at Marshall, Semmle was named 2020 Conference USA Goalkeeper of the Year, won Conference USA Golden Glove Award for most shutouts in the conference, and earned 2020 First Team All-Conference USA honors.

Kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m. at Hoops Family Field in Huntington, West Virginia. Streaming will be available on ESPN+.

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