By Kendrick Jackson, Contributing Writer
West Liberty’s men’s soccer team will travel to Buckhannon, W.Va. this weekend for an inner-conference matchup against West Virginia Wesleyan. After three away games to begin the season, the Black and Gold still searches for their first road win. This will be a tall order as the Wesleyan Bobcats look to shift gears after a slow start to their promising season.
The Bobcats were projected to finish third in the conference standings this season in the Mountain East Conference Preseason Poll. This stems from a season that saw Wesleyan win its first-ever MEC title. In the championship game, Wesleyan upset undefeated University of Charleston, earning the Golden Eagles their first and only loss of the season. The two teams would meet again in the first round in the NCAA Tournament. However, this time the Golden Eagles got the upper hand en route to securing their first National Championship.
The Bobcats have not met expectations this season. As of Sept. 12, Wesleyan is 0-3-2, sitting towards the bottom of the conference. However, midfielder Matthew Bentley, returns to Wesleyan for his junior campaign. Bentley scored the winning goal in last year’s MEC Championship game to soar the University of Charleston perfect season.
New to the field this year is WLU men’s soccer team. After scrimmaging against several teams and clubs last season, West Liberty was officially added to the MEC conference for the 2018 season. As of Sept. 14, Head Coach Thomas Olivier and the Hilltoppers are 1-3-0, and rank third-to-last in the conference.
Goalkeeper Florian Dupuis has made a strong defensive impact in his senior year for the Black and Gold. Dupuis made 10 saves in their 0-4 loss to Notre Dame College last Sunday. For the season, Dupuis has 19 saves with a .655 save percentage.
The men’s soccer team is still looking for their first road win as a program on the campus of West Liberty University and this match-up against the West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats isn’t going to be easy but if they are able to get their first road win, it could give them momentum moving forward.
Coverage for the West Liberty-Wesleyan game will begin at 7 p.m. on Sunday. Next Thursday, both WLU soccer teams will host Urbana in a doubleheader.
Photo Credit: Hilltoppersports.com