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Dwelling-field benefit has been key to West Virginia’s match run

MORGANTOWN — There’s no query that the most well liked ticket on the town belongs to the West Virginia males’s soccer group. 

When tickets had been made out there Monday morning for the Mountaineers’ NCAA Event quarterfinal spherical match towards Loyola Marymount, the complete allotment had bought out in simply over 5 and a half hours.

“The power and atmosphere that was created from a packed stand made an enormous distinction,” WVU coach Dan Stratford mentioned over Zoom on Tuesday. “They really had been a twelfth man and we’re extremely excited that we already bought the sport out in a brief span of time.”

The tickets going quick shouldn’t have come as a shock as Saturday is the Mountaineers’ last alternative to play at house this season. A win would advance them to the School Cup semifinals in Louisville, Ky. subsequent Friday.

The WVU males had by no means bought out Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium earlier than this season however now have performed so 4 occasions this yr, together with three video games in a row.

“I’m hoping that we’ll break one other attendance report,” Stratford mentioned. “Going comfortably over 3,000 can be unimaginable and I hope we give everybody one thing to cheer about and a purpose to leap of their vehicles and drive to Louisville subsequent week.”

WVU (16-2-4) was assured home-field benefit for the primary two rounds of play resulting from being the No. 5 seed within the match, however James Madison’s upset of No. 4 Georgetown ensured that the Mountaineers wouldn’t have to depart Morgantown till the ultimate 4.

“It makes an enormous distinction and I’m hoping for an unimaginable atmosphere and environment once more on Saturday,” Stratford mentioned. “We’re undefeated at house this season. For me, that needs to be greater than coincidence, there needs to be an actual correlation there.”

WVU has superior to the quarterfinals with two one-goal victories, 1-0 over Louisville and 2-1 towards Vermont final weekend. Stratford mentioned he might really feel the house crowd assist his group prevail each occasions.

“There have been some struggles final weekend towards Vermont, I believe the beginning of the second half was a bit of sloppy,” he mentioned. “It acquired to that hour mark and we had one thing resembling a interval of play that appeared like us and the group getting again into the sport actually sort of carried us by the following half-hour.”

Junior Max Broughton scored the eventual game-winning aim for WVU within the 82nd minute towards Vermont. Stratford mentioned he might actually really feel the affect the house crowd had on his group as they had been defending the 2-1 lead late within the contest.

“We get the eventual winner with about 9 minutes to go and the power, the passion, the elevate, you may inform the group was an unimaginable piece of that, an essential piece of that,” he mentioned. “The power ranges of us had been lifted. We had been extra alive within the final 10 minutes than we had been perhaps at some other level within the sport.”

The opposite side of home-field benefit is the group hasn’t needed to depart Morgantown in three weeks. When WVU made its run to the quarterfinals in 2021, the group needed to journey from Morgantown to Tulsa, Okla., again to Morgantown after which to Washington D.C. within the span of two weeks.

“They get good night time’s relaxation in their very own room for the rest of the week,” Stratford mentioned. “We all know the place we eat and once we eat and who’s offering the meals. All of these familiarities can be in play once more on the weekend.”

The Mountaineers will kick off towards Loyola Marymount at 2 p.m. Saturday from Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium for the ultimate time this season. The sport can be broadcast on ESPN+.