The Wheeling Jesuit Men's soccer team hosted the West Virginia Wesleyan College Bobcats in a win-or-go-home match to see who would get the fourth and final spot in the Mountain East Conference Playoffs. The Cardinals booked their ticket to the post-season with a 1-0 victory off the boot of Captain Luke Roan.
The two teams met earlier in the season in Buckhannon, W. Va. where they drew 1-1. This match however had an air of intensity to it from the get-go with both teams fully aware of the post-season implications. The win puts the Cardinals at 7-6-4 overall on the season, and 5-4-3 in MEC play, good enough for the fourth and final spot in the playoffs.
"I'm really pleased with our performance. I definitely thought we deserved to win that game," said WJU head coach Jim Regan. "I though we controlled the pace, and we were a little unlucky to not be up by 2 or more at half. We definitely had a few shots that just couldn't find their way to the goal."
The first half started out with Wesleyan controlling the ball in Jesuit's end for the first five minutes. Jesuit took over at the five-minute mark and didn't look back the rest of the half. Led by the goal keeping of Cody Thompson (Kingwood, W.Va.) the Cards played solid defense and kept the ball in the Bobcats half for the majority of the first period.
With seven seconds left in the first half George Noubossie (Silver Spring, MD) stole the ball off a deflection and passed through traffic to captain Luke Roan who sniped the ball on a one-timer past Bobcat goalkeeper Derik Ayers to put the Cardinals up 1-0 at the half.
Luke Roan and Aitor DeHeredia (Bilboa, Spain) combined for a total of eleven corner kicks in the first half, but none of them connected.
The Cardinals came into the second half with the same amount of intensity that they ended the second half with and consistently controlled the ball and never looked back. The second half proved to be a defensive battle, and as the final buzzer sounded the Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals had advanced to the MEC playoffs with the 1-0 victory.
The Cardinals will enter the first round of the Mountain East playoffs on Thursday against the No.5 nationally ranked (No.1 MEC) Notre Dame College Falcons. The MEC playoffs will be held in a neutral location at Fairmont State University.