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WVU men’s soccer release ‘challenging, yet exciting’ 2021 schedule

File Photo courtesy WVU Athletics

From WVU Athletic Department report

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (July 8, 2021)  Highlighted by 10 home matches, West Virginia University Director of Athletics Shane Lyons has announced the 2021 men’s soccer schedule.

The Mountaineers’ slate features 17 regular-season matches, with three exhibition contests. In all, WVU is set to take on five teams who qualified for the 2020-21 NCAA Tournament this fall, including two College Cup participants. 

Among the match-ups — WVU will face two Pittsburgh-area schools as they open the season on the road against Robert Morris then will renew the Backyard Brawl for their home opener against Pitt.


Additionally, three of WVU’s six Mid-American Conference games will be played at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown.

“We’re looking forward to a very challenging, yet exciting 2021 season,” WVU coach Dan Stratford said. “The team must deal with a quick turnaround following last spring’s action, but we know we’ll be ready for a schedule that features several big names and prominent programs from around the sport. We also know that conference play is always a battle in the MAC, and this year should be no different in that regard. Overall, we believe the strength of this schedule provides us with a good mix of opponents that should push us toward constant improvement. Perhaps the biggest excitement, however, will be seeing our strong base of support being back in the stadium to help us every step of the way.”

Following home, exhibition play against Duquesne (Friday, Aug. 13) and Charleston (Saturday, Aug. 21), as well as a road exhibition at Saint Francis (Pa.) on Tuesday, Aug. 17, the Mountaineers open the 2021 campaign at Robert Morris on Thursday, Aug. 26. From there, the squad begins play in Morgantown with a four-match homestand. The home opener is set for Monday, Aug. 30, with the renewal of the Backyard Brawl against Pitt. Then, Penn State comes to town on Friday, Sept. 3, before West Virginia plays host to Loyola (Md.) on Monday, Sept. 6, and Ohio State on Friday, Sept. 10.

WVU hits the road again on Friday, Sept. 17, as the team travels to Huntington, West Virginia, to take on defending National Champion Marshall. After that, the Mountaineers return home for three straight matches against Dayton on Thursday, Sept. 21, St. Bonaventure on Saturday, Sept. 25, and Akron on Thursday, Sept. 30, to open MAC play.

West Virginia begins October with four consecutive road matches. The stretch opens at Lehigh on Thursday, Oct. 5, before a conference trip sends WVU to Northern Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 9. WVU also is set to travel to MAC foe Western Michigan on Saturday, Oct. 16, as well as Kentucky on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

Then, the Mountaineers return to Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium for a pair of matches, beginning with a fixture against Elon on Saturday, Oct. 23. After that, WVU battles in back-to-back MAC matches against league newcomers Georgia State (Thursday, Oct. 28) and at Georgia Southern (Sunday, Oct. 31), before the squad caps the regular season at home with its final conference showdown against Bowling Green on Thursday, Nov. 4. 

Of note, information about tickets for the 2021 campaign at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium will be announced at a later date.

WVU is coming off a 6-3-1 mark in Stratford’s debut season at the helm in 2020-21’s spring-only slate. The squad is set to return its top seven goal scorers, as well as 12 of 13 players who started at least five matches last spring.

The 2021 season marks the final year of competition for West Virginia in the Mid-American Conference, before the program joins Conference USA in 2022.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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