HUNTINGTON — West Virginia is officially one of the top states in America for college soccer.
Friday night’s match in Huntington between in-state rivals Marshall and West Virginia will feature two of the top men’s soccer teams in the nation, according to the United Soccer Coaches Association poll released Tuesday.
Marshall, the defending national champion, moved up four spots in this week’s poll to No. 6 after dropping to No. 10 in last week’s rankings.
That sets up a battle with WVU, which continued its climb in the polls, jumping up one more spot to No. 4 this week.
West Virginia is the only state to have two Division I programs ranked in the top 10, although No. 1 Georgetown (District of Columbia) and No. 8 Maryland are also in close proximity to each other.
The match brings together the state’s two Division I programs, both of which have seen success in recent years.
In 2019, Marshall and WVU met in Huntington in the second round of the NCAA tournament with the Herd earning a 2-1 win over the Mountaineers. It was the program’s first NCAA tournament win.
Last season, WVU repaid the favor in Morgantown, defeating Marshall 1-0 prior to the Herd’s run to the NCAA College Cup title.
That was the Herd’s lone loss last season to a team when it was at full strength. The Herd also lost to Akron in overtime but was down a man for much of the match after a red card in the first half.
Marshall coach Chris Grassie and WVU coach Dan Stratford are good friends whose coaching backgrounds came through the University of Charleston, which adds to the already impressive theater for Friday night’s match.
Bleacher seating for Marshall home games sold out prior to the season and single-match tickets are only available in the standing-room areas of Hoops Family Field.
Cole Woodrum, Marshall’s assistant athletic director for ticketing, said tickets remain in those areas for Friday’s match. They are $5 each.