MORGANTOWN, W.V. – West Virginia scored four second-half goals Saturday night and rolled to a 5-1 win over SIUE in Mid-American Conference soccer at Dick Dlesk Stadium.
The loss is the first for the Cougars in more than a month and ended an eight-game unbeaten streak. SIUE is 9-2-4 overall and 1-1-1 in MAC play. West Virginia retained sole possession of first place in the MAC with a perfect 3-0-0 record in league play. The Mountaineers are 10-5-0 overall.
From the opening whistle through the majority of the first half, SIUE controlled the pace of the game yet scored just a single goal.
"The first 35-40 minutes was tremendous," SIUE Head Coach Mario Sanchez said. "Yet, if you don't put those chances away it can cost you."
The Cougars managed 12 first-half shots including eight on goal
SIUE broke through in the 12th minute. Joergen Pettersen sent a short corner kick out to Steven Bibas who settled before serving the ball into the 18-yard box. Lachlan McLean got a head to it, before it came down in front of Jorge Gonzalez. The ball bounced and Gonzales hit a half-volley into the upper corner for the Cougars' lead.
It appeared SIUE had taken a two-goal lead in the 33rd minute. The Cougars earned a free kick thanks to a West Virginia foul near the corner. Greg Solawa's free kick was headed down from the back post and came out in front to Gonzales. He hit a shot which appeared to bounce up under the crossbar before it was grabbed by WVU goalkeeper Steven Tekesky, but it was not ruled to have gone in.
Minutes later, the Mountaineers tied the game when Pascal Derwaritsch hit a lunging header from the back post after corner found its way through the six yard box.
With the score tied 1-1, West Virginia scored twice in a five-minute span to seize control of the game.
In the 64th minute a corner from Joey Piatczyk glanced off the head of an SIUE defender and into the goal to make it 2-1. Then in the 69th Andres Muriel Albino unleashed a right footed rip from the top of the 18-yard box into the upper corner for the 3-1 lead.
Kevin Morris scored in the 75th minute off of a free kick and Albert Andres-Lop put the fifth on the board in the 82nd minute.
"We gave up three restart goals," Sanchez said. "We know we have to stay better focused."
The Cougars take a full week off before playing their final regular season home game of the year Saturday against Akron.
"It's now about the response," Sanchez said. "We can pout and sulk or we can realize what we did to start was tremendous and buckle down for the last two conference games and the postseason.
"There was a lot of good," Sanchez continued. "I don't want to forget about the really good. The first half was probably our best half of soccer all year against a good team."
Saturday will be senior night for SIUE. Four departing seniors will be honored prior to kick off with the Zips.