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WVU Men’s Soccer

WVU Men’s Soccer Earns 500th Win, Downs Georgia State

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – It’s a great day to be a Mountaineer, wherever you may be. WVU Men’s Soccer tallied its 500th all-time program victory with today’s 2-1 win over MAC opponent Georgia State at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

It wasn’t a walk in the park, though.

In the 25th minute of play, WVU fifth year goalkeeper Steven Tekesky booked the game’s first yellow card of the game on a dive that slid him into a Panther striker. It set up a penalty kick situation that added the first score to the board when Tekesky dove the opposite direction of Georgia State’s senior defender George Proctor’s attempt.

It became the sole score of the half, but if the Mountaineers were concerned about being in the middle of this season’s third halftime deficit, the players didn’t show it.

“I know that will stay with him for a while,” Stratford said of Tekesky’s diving miss. “I said to [Tekesky] at halftime, he’s got to be really, really brave now and really strong. He’s got that armband on his arm. He’s a captain of this team and he needs to make sure we keep a clean sheet in the halftime if we’re going to win in regulation. That was the comment at halftime. It had to stay at one and be a clean sheet if we were going to win in 90 minutes.”

Back from halftime and ready to kick the scoring into gear, Stratford’s WVU team had an opportunity to tally the equalizer in the 53rd minute. A corner kick off the foot of freshman defender Frederik Jorgensen was met by senior defender Aaron Denk Gracia and redshirt junior midfielder Dyon Dromers, back after a right knee injury sustained during the Penn State game. The crash inside the six-yard box was ruled offsides after Dromers drilled his shot behind Panthers junior keeper Gunther Rankenburg, and the scoring opportunity was redacted.

Dromers wasn’t yet done trying to find the back of Georgia State net. Six minutes later, he sent a missile flying past a diving Rankenburg, tying the score at one in the 59th minute. This was his first score since the first goal of the season in the opener 2-0 win over Robert Morris on Aug. 26.

“We’ve been dying to have him back to have that threat, especially in some of these games recently, where teams have defended quite deep against us,” Stratford said of having Dromers back in the lineup. “What an amazing comeback story for him, right, in his first game back after such a long time since Penn State. To come on and get the equalizer, and in the fashion that he did… we all know he’s capable of that, so no one was surprised on our sideline, but I bet that was a pretty special feeling for him. I’m absolutely delighted for him.”

Now tied at one, the Mountaineers and Panthers got chippy. Five yellow cards were called between the 72nd and 87th minutes, two on Georgia State and three on Mountaineers fifth year midfielder Pau Jimenez Albelda, sophomore midfielder Ryan Baer, and Denk Gracia.

The Mountaineers’ final scoring opportunity came in the 89th minute, just when the 526 WVU and GSU fans in attendance were steadying themselves for overtime. Luckily, OT was not to be. Sophomore forward Ciro Bourlot Jaeggi got his head on a Ryan Crooks cross, pushing it behind Rankenburg and securing the program’s 500th win, complete with an epic celebration.

“Honestly, I thought when he headed it, it had gone in the side net and I didn’t realize it had gone in, so it muted my celebration a little bit because I thought he’d missed,” Stratford said with a laugh.

With this 2-1 victory, the Mountaineers move to 9-2-4. The team now has two games remaining, including a Nov. 4 home game against Bowling Green to close out the season.

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