Nationally-Recognized, Quality Local Journalism..

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to the Mountain State’s Trusted News Source.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.


Learn more about HD Media

HUNTINGTON — In front of a record crowd of 3,033, No. 6 Marshall and No. 4 West Virginia played to a 2-2 men’s soccer draw Friday night at Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex.

Dubbed the “Mountain State Derby” in the days leading up to the match, Huntington became the centerpiece of soccer in the state of West Virginia, but a winner couldn’t be decided after each side scored twice in regulation and was kept out of the net in the two overtime periods.

“I think it’s a great advertisement for college soccer and especially here in West Virginia, and it was a fair reflection of where we are in the [eyes of] the country. These are two top-five teams in my opinion,” Mountaineers coach Dan Stratford said. “Both teams have done themselves justice.”

While Marshall (3-1-2) seemed to dominate possession in the opening period, something Stratford said he knew the Thundering Herd had the talent to do, his team played strong in the attacking third and capitalized twice to take a lead after 45 minutes of play.

West Virginia (4-0-2) broke open the scoring in the 17th minute of the match on a counterattack that allowed Luke McCormick and Yoran Popovic, the goal scorer, to work Oliver Semmle out of position and net a goal.

“I thought we posed a really, really dangerous threat on the counterattack and were very, very clinical on a couple of occasions, but we just need to be a bit better in transition,” Stratford said.

Popovic became the ninth player to score in six games this year for WVU, but Marshall netted the equalizer just two minutes later when Vitor Dias put the ball in play from the corner and Pedro Dolabella finished the scoring chance.

With time winding down in the first period, the Mountaineers put together a handful of runs using the counterattack to their advantage, and Ciro Bourlot Jaeggi scored the go-ahead goal with less than four minutes left until the break.

Marshall took twice as many shot attempts than WVU — three were on goal and three were saved. The Mountaineers shot just three times and scored twice.

As the intensity picked up in the second half, Marshall used the home crowd and aggressive play to gain some of the momentum back from WVU. In the 58th minute, Milo Yosef made a play on the ball just outside the 18-yard box, was fouled, and Marshall was awarded a free kick at that spot.

Max Schneider cashed in on the scoring opportunity and tied the game at 2. It was his first goal of the year and came at just the right time for Marshall.

The score held through a heated second half and a physical two overtimes, and both Stratford and Marshall coach Chris Grassie left pleased with the performances of their teams, though Grassie said he expects the Herd to capitalize on similar chances later this year.

“We kept our composure and created chances to win the game four times near the end of the game,” he said. “We just have to finish one, and eventually we will finish one. There’s a small margin in tight games.”

It’s the first time since 1985 the WVU and Marshall have ended in a draw and was the third consecutive season they’ve faced each other after not meeting from 2005-2018. In 2022, West Virginia will join Conference USA and the two will meet annually, something both sides said they look forward to.

Luke Creasy is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @LukeCreasy or reach him by phone at 304-526-2800.