Search / 1481 results found

from
to

NEW BOSTON, OHIO — “There’s so many people out there that have no clue that this happened,” said Al Oliver, Portsmouth, Ohio native and former…

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The No. 21-ranked West Virginia men’s soccer team earned a come-from-behind, 2-1 win over Western Michigan on Saturday afternoon.

Trailing 1-0, the Mountaineers scored back-to-back goals in the 76th and 88th minutes, respectively, to claim the victory. Senior forward Ike Swiger tied the game for WVU before sophomore midfielder Ryan Crooks scored the game-winning goal in the final moments of the fixture.

The win marked West Virginia’s first in Mid-American Conference play this fall.

“These games are huge for momentum; you can just tell with the guys’ response and the way they feel,” WVU coach Dan Stratford said. “Given the nature of the last week that we’ve had, the response was incredible. It would’ve been easy for us to fold over and really struggle, but we didn’t give up. I’m just really, really pleased with the result because I think over the course of the 90 minutes, we deserved to win the game.”

On a chilly, windy afternoon at the WMU Soccer Complex, sophomore midfielder Ryan Baer nearly opened the scoring for the Mountaineers (7-1-4, 1-1-1 MAC) in the 19th minute with a shot that was saved by the WMU goalkeeper in the center of the goal. That proved to be the Mountaineers’ best scoring chance until the 43rd minute, when fifth-year senior defender Kevin Morris had a header saved off a WVU corner kick.

The match stayed scoreless as it reached halftime.

In the second half, fifth-year senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky made a diving save in the 52nd minute to keep things knotted up. Then, the Broncos (4-5-4, 0-2-0 MAC) took the lead in the 72nd off a set piece. It marked just the second time this season that WVU conceded the opening goal of a game.

Needing to respond, Swiger found the quick equalizer, becoming the 12th different player to tally a goal for WVU this fall. Following a pass from Baer, Swiger was able to find the back of the net with a shot off the post to make it 1-1 in the 76th minute.

The Mountaineers weren’t done from there. In the 88th minute, Crooks tallied the game-winner when a long pass was mishandled by the Bronco back line, allowing the Oxfordshire, England, native to capitalize.

West Virginia held an 8-7 advantage in shots in the win, including 5-4 in shots on goal. WVU also held a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks. Crooks and Swiger co-led the Mountaineers with two shots each, while Tekesky made three saves in the win.

With the win, WVU improved to 6-5-2 all-time against Western Michigan, including 3-3-1 in Kalamazoo. Additionally, 11 of the 13 matchups between West Virginia and Western Michigan have ended in either one-goal games or draws.

Next up, West Virginia concludes its four-match road trip by traveling to Kentucky for a non-conference matchup Tuesday in Lexington, Kentucky. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia’s massively revamped men’s basketball team made its first public appearance Friday night at the WVU Coliseum, and although the scrimmage was loosely officiated and often defense-free, there were a number of observations to be made concerning the 2021-22 Mountaineers.

Before getting into those, though, a couple of caveats: Judgments based largely on the statistics compiled would be very misleading, as the teams played just two 15-minute halves, with fouls only called in the most egregious of situations. Also, the teams were split up, with likely/possible starters or those expected to earn major minutes split between the Blue and Gold teams, which could have robbed each side of the some of the synergy that’s hoped to be developed during the year.

With those cautions in mind, on to some thoughts and initial impressions:

Running the offense and handling the ball on the perimeter is still a work in progress, but might not be at a level of concern that some have placed it at. Transfer Malik Curry and returnee Kedrian Johnson were mostly solid in getting their teams into their attacks and passed the ball reasonably well, as they combined for 11 assists against four turnovers and didn’t get stuck with the ball on many occasions.

Freshman Seth Wilson, whose strong build and aggressive play backed up some early observations of his ability, was also respectable, and although he probably isn’t ready to challenge for major minutes yet, he has a number of positives upon which to build. Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil also took some turns getting things started, giving WVU some veteran presence if need be.

This isn’t to say that the Mountaineers have found a total solution to their questions at the position yet, but they do have some candidates who look to be able to get the ball into the lane and find teammates for open shots. This isn’t going to be a point guard-dominated team, but that might not be a requirement.

The near-total absence of defense was disturbing and contributed some to the high level of offensive success. As such, all of the stats, such as shooting percentages and relatively low turnover numbers, have to be viewed with a huge grain of salt.

On-ball defense was OK at a few stretches, but many ballhandlers cruised past defenders like high-performance cars on the Autobahn. Hopefully that is a sign of proficiency in that area, but fundamentals of positioning and the ability to stay in front of the ball were mostly lacking. Again, the hope is that some of this is due to the nature of the scrimmage, but if West Virginia’s defense resembles any of this during regular games, it’s going to need to score in the 80s to have any chance.

* * * * * *

Speaking of scoring, most of it is, as expected, going to have to come from the perimeter, the mid-range and from drives to the bucket. Only on a handful of possessions did WVU throw the ball to a posted-up player with his back to the basket, and that was mostly Isaiah Cottrell, who did show a respectable jump hook over the shoulder on one sequence. There aren’t going to be many post isolations this season, a staple of the offense over the last couple years.

On the plus side, Dimon Carrigan and Pauly Paulicap did get to the rim for lobs and a few dunks, but again, there’s that lack of defense to be concerned with, as rotations when the ball got free were as rare as chants of “Let’s Go Pitt” in the Coliseum.

* * * * * *

All three true freshmen have some chops. Whether that’s enough to see some time this year is still to be determined, though both Wilson and Kobe Johnson, who have physiques that look more like those of juniors than first-year players, seemed at ease in competing alongside and against their older teammates. Johnson drained four of his five 3-point attempts, and Wilson, as mentioned, was not overwhelmed in setting the offense.

Jamel King, the late addition to the class, looks taller than his listed 6-foot-7 and, like a number of his teammates, has a good wingspan and did not back down from any situation. He had a monster contested dunk in the second half that sent Gabe Osabuohien, an opponent on the night, into a huge celebration that included a couple of chest bumps.

* * * * * *

Jalen Bridges continues to be deadly from 3-point range in the corner, which helps keep other spots open on the perimeter for teammates. His game-best 21 points seemed effortless, as his shot looks even smoother and more well-honed than it was a year ago. Add in his game-high eight rebounds, and there’s no question he’s going to be a vital cog this year.

* * * * * *

Osabuohien might have a future as a shot doctor. OK, that’s an overreaction, but he demonstrated what head coach Bob Huggins explained a day earlier when he said that the super senior had fixed his shot mechanics without assistance from the coaching staff.

A careful watch in pregame revealed a much more repeatable shooting form, with his hand under the ball and a softer release, and that carried over to most of his attempts in the game. There were a couple of 3-point attempts that he’s not going to be taking in the regular season, and one rushed drive/shot that resulted in a heave, but overall the improvement was remarkable.

This does not constitute a prediction that he’s going to become a massive scorer. However, if he can drive the ball from the key and put up good shots as he did in this game, opponents aren’t going to be able to leave him alone as they did a year ago. That’s also going to help his ability to pass the ball, which was already at a high level.

* * * * * *

Seny N’diaye is likely headed for another developmental year, but it’s clear he has been putting in time in the weight room. While he has not massively bulked up, he has much more definition in his upper body, and that should allow him to compete more effectively.

* * * * * *

Whether consciously or not, or due to the split roster, Isaiah Cottrell showed that he is not just an outside shooter. He made six of seven shots inside the arc, with a couple coming off drives, a couple in the mid-range, and more off passes from teammates. In all, it was a tantalizing display of his all-around offensive game, and that is going to be critical for the Mountaineers this year. He can certainly shoot outside, but having scoring threats in the 6-15 foot range (analytics be damned!) are important in making WVU’s offense tougher to defend all over the court.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WV News) — Neal Brown gets it.

Honest, he does, and he showed that he gets it early in his Tuesday press conference following a third straight loss to Baylor, this one by a 45-20 score that really wasn't even that close.

"The way I always think about it, right or wrong, is we're in the entertainment business," Brown said.

They call it football and sell it as a sport, but if you look at the reality of the game, the coach is the script writer, and the director and the players, they are the actors. You are creative as a coach, yes, but for a reason and that reason is to entertain paying customers; those who pay their way into the stadium or paying a cable television bill.

And what is entertaining to those people?

Winning.

The script may be miserable but when the curtain falls, the patrons leave with a smile on their face and craving more of the same if the team they root for is ahead on points.

It was so well put many years ago by one of the best playwriters/directors ever, Vincent Lombardi, when he said "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."

And to win it takes great performances. WVU has always been able to provide that on their winning teams, be it Pat White, Steve Slaton, Tavon Austin, Noel Devine, Stedman Bailey, Geno Smith, Major Harris or Amos Zereoue.

It is, Brown understands, his job to provide that for his fans.

"That's what we are, and when the product is not good, the people have an opportunity to complain, and that's probably what they're doing, and I don't blame them." he said. "It's no different than when you go to a restaurant and the food's not good or you watch a movie and it's not good or however you get your entertainment. When the product is not good you complain."

But Brown knows that there is this chasm between the coaches and the players and the fans, who can be quite fickle.

"It's not entertainment for us. It's our livelihood. The people in this building each and every day, our job is to get it fixed."

And that is what this off-week was all about for the 2-4 Mountaineers, looking for answers that may or may not be there at this stage of Brown's rebuilding.

See, WVU's offense has been terrible, and while there is much blame to go around, when you look at it from an entertainment standpoint, that goes back to the main character and, in football, the main character is the quarterback.

Jarret Doege, whether the offensive line has given him a chance or not, has not entertained the fans. It isn't for lack of effort or preparation. It is simply that everyone can't be Brando or even Bruce Willis.

You are what you are, which is not a knock on you as a person but as a performer.

The problem is that Doege's back up, Garrett Greene, has shown no ability to change the outcome of games in which he has been used.

It didn't play out at WVU as it did at Oklahoma when Coach Lincoln Riley yanked his preseason Heisman candidate at quarterback Spencer Rattler in the midst of a dismal performance against Red River Shootout rival Texas in favor of true freshman Caleb Williams.

Williams rallied the team from three touchdowns down to a dramatic 55-48 victory.

The script that day turned into "A Star is Born" while at West Virginia Doege's understudy hasn't been able to create a difference.

It's become an issue, a complicated issue, one where people wonder if Greene's use as an alternate QB has actually kept Doege from moving forward.

Brown says that is not the case.

"I don' think playing Garrett has hampered him," Brown said. "It hasn't necessarily taken practice reps away from him. We always give our backup reps anyway and the things we're doing with Garrett you wouldn't ask Jarret to do, and vice versa. He's just been a little bit inconsistent and missed some things."

The result has been an average performance when a winning performance was being screamed for by the fans. Fans don't want to hear about dropped passes, which have been far less of a problem of late, or about missed blocks.

They want points ... period. Doege hasn't provided them, Greene hasn't provided them and it has left everyone who spent their good money and was football starved after a year of COVID-dictated isolation which kept them from attending football games frustrated.

These are West Virginians who like life at the top of the Mountaineer and have found the climb that they were asked to trust to be more difficult than imagined.

Statistics tell the story, none more than the fact that in the 17 games in which Doege has started WVU has reached 30 points scored just twice, and that includes special team and defensive touchdowns.

They have left a lot of points on the field, having to settle for field goals on 14 of their last 28 trips into the red zone.

The running dimension Greene gives the offense is tempting to Brown to use, but the real question is whether or not he's ready to run his own offense at this level.

"He's got to do what he's coached to do in the pass game," Brown said. "I'm all for the free-lance, but he needs to go from 1 to 2 before he takes off and runs. Last Saturday, he just took a drop and then ran.

"The struggle with him is the receiver group is by far and away the most productive group on offense right now. He's got to be able to utilize them. There are some things we can do with him in the run game, but the receivers are open when he's playing and he's got to be able to find them and give them the ball because it's like I said, that's the most productive group right now."

There is a third option in true freshman QB Will "Goose" Crowder, but at this stage of his development that's like calling someone out of the audience and asking him to perform the lead role.

"Goose is a guy that, he's coming along. From a leadership standpoint, he has probably as good of skills as anybody in our program. He's really added positive weight over the last nine months since being here in January. The game is starting to slow down for him. He's had two really good Mondays in a row."

But they don't play games that count on Monday.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — An open week in a college football schedule is a time for self-improvement, both for those who are seeing significant game action on Saturdays and those who are more in the developmental phase of their career.

West Virginia’s football team has 16 first-year scholarship players. Of those, 14 are listed as having seen game action already this season, but half of them have participated in just one contest. Thus they still are very much alive for a redshirt, which entails they play in no more than four games in a season.

According to WVU’s participation chart, the only true freshman to play in every game this season is wide receiver Kaden Prather. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound native of Montgomery Village, Maryland, also got the starting nod at Baylor, though his only two receptions so far this year came against Long Island.

Offensive tackle Wyatt Milum is the only other true freshman besides Prather to earn a start this season, as the 6-foot-6, 291-pound Spring Valley product was on the field for the first series against Texas Tech. He suffered a leg injury midway through that game against the Red Raiders, though, and that ailment kept him out for the rest of the contest against TTU and all of the Baylor game, the only contest this year in which he has not played.

Besides Prather and Milum, other true freshmen who have seen action in multiple games this year include safety Aubrey Burks (five games), running back Justin Johnson (five games), cornerback Andrew Wilson-Lamp (four games), safety Saint McLeod (three games), safety Davis Mallinger (two games), quarterback Goose Crowder (two games) and defensive lineman Edward Vesterinen (two games).

Neal Brown’s program holds a weekly intra-squad scrimmage, which it calls “Monday Night Football,” for those young developmental players who don’t see much game action on Saturdays.

That scrimmage work was expanded this off week.

“We’ll go today, tomorrow and Thursday,” Brown said on Tuesday of the scrimmage plans for his younger players. “We’ll get them a bunch of reps.”

One of those taking advantage of Monday Night Football, according to Brown, is quarterback Goose Crowder. The 6-foot-1, 208-pounder from Gardendale, Alabama, did get a series of action against LIU earlier this year, where he completed both his pass attempts for 28 yards. Crowder has shown promise, said Brown, though he’s still likely ticketed to redshirt this year.

“Goose is a guy who is coming along,” stated the head coach. “From a leadership standpoint, he’s probably got as good of skills as anyone in our program. He’s added positive weight over the last nine months since getting here in January. The game is starting to slow down for him. He’s had two really good Mondays in a row.”

WVU brought in two scholarship running backs as part of its class of 2021 — Justin Johnson (5-10, 196) and Jaylen Anderson (6-0, 215).

Johnson has seen action this season in all but the Virginia Tech game, and he got opportunities to carry the ball against LIU (10 rushes for 42 yards) and Baylor (eight rushes for 18 yards, plus one reception for two yards).

“At running back, Justin Johnson is a guy who is playing,” said Brown of the Edwardsville, Illinois, native who is battling for the No. 2 spot at the running back position. “He had a couple really nice runs (against Baylor). He missed some protection issues that he can’t do, but he’ll continue to improve, and we’ll keep working him hard.”

As for Anderson, it took a little extra time compared to his classmates to get academically approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse, but he was allowed to enroll at WVU in mid-September.

“Jaylen is just now starting to practice,” explained Brown of the Perry, Ohio, product, who will almost certainly redshirt this season. “He was out of shape when he first got here, and then he was sick last week and missed some days. He’ll practice this week, but I don’t have a big enough body of work to comment on him.”

West Virginia has two tight ends in this class, Victor Wikstrom and Treylan Davis, both of whom have played in one game so far this year. Each is likely ticketed for a redshirt.

“The tight ends, Victor and Treylan, they aren’t ready right now, but they are very similar to what a lot of the league is playing with as far as blockers and guys who can get out in the flats and do those things,” said Brown. “I think they’ll be able to help us next year.”

WVU had just two offensive line signees in the class of 2021. Milum is already part of the rotation up front, and he could very well get additional starts at right tackle as the season continues. The second O-line signee, Tomas Rimac (6-6, 298), is one Brown likes but is still in the developmental stage.

“Offensive line-wise, Tomas Rimac is a guy who isn’t ready to play right now, but we do think he will in the future,” said the coach of the Brunswick, Ohio, product. “He’s progressing well. He’s really learning how to pass protect for the first time.”

Brown also mentioned redshirt freshman offensive tackle Ja’Quay Hubbard. The 6-6, 310-pounder transferred from Virginia to West Virginia in the summer of 2020. He didn’t see any game action last fall but is starting to get some reps this season, including a number of snaps at Baylor.

“I’ve talked about Ja’Quay Hubbard before,” said Brown. “He was really heavy (listed at 335) when he got here, but he’s lost a bunch of weight and is gaining his strength back. I like the way he plays with effort. He just lacks some strength right now, but he’ll play for us down the road.”

Freshmen defensive linemen Brayden Dudley (6-2, 242), Edward Vesterinen (6-3, 270) and Hammond Russell (6-3, 287) each have gotten some game reps so far this season, though none have yet eclipsed the mark that would keep them from redshirting.

“Hammond Russell is a guy who has played spot duty,” noted Brown. “We like what he’s doing. He’s done a nice job on scout team.”

At linebacker, Ja’Corey Hammett (6-0, 196) has been restricted in practice as he continues to recover from a knee injury he suffered last season at Miami Northwestern (Fla.) High School.

WVU has used four true freshmen defensive backs in games this season. Any or all of them could exceed the redshirt limit.

“Aubrey Burks played 20 snaps or something like that on Saturday. He did a nice job,” Brown said of the 5-foot-10, 201-pound safety. “We’ll continue to grow him, because he needs to play.

“I think Saint McLeod is a guy we’re going to take a hard look at because he may be able to help us now,” added Brown of the 5-10, 209-pound safety.

Mallinger (6-0, 188) and Wilson-Lamp (6-1, 174) were primarily wide receivers in high school. They both enrolled at WVU in January and began transitioning to safety and cornerback, respectively.

“Davis Mallinger has been traveling (with the team to road games),” said Brown. “He played seven to 10 snaps on Saturday. He can really run, but he’s still learning how to play defense. He’ll help us on special teams. We’re going to continue to play him, and he’ll help us, especially on special teams. He plays the game fast.

“Wilson-Lamp is doing a good job on special teams,” added the WVU coach. “He’s still new at corner, so there’s a bit of a transition process there.”

Things ultimately could change, but it appears WVU is likely going to play at least seven true freshmen — Prather, Johnson, Milum, Burks, McLeod, Mallinger and Wilson-Lamp — above the four-game redshirt limit, with Russell also a possibility as well.

Of course, you know what they say about the best-laid plans …

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Before a WVU Coliseum crowd of several thousand on Friday, the 2021-22 Mountaineer men’s basketball team made its first public appearance of the year in the Gold/Blue Debut.

Starting with a speech by West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins and concluding with an autograph session, the heart of the evening’s activities was an hour-long officiated scrimmage.

Returnees like Taz Sherman, Sean McNeil and Jalen Bridges (five of eight from 3) displayed their form, especially from the perimeter. It was also the initial opportunity for WVU fans to see newcomers Pauly Paulicap, Malik Curry, Dimon Carrigan, Kobe Johnson, Seth Wilson and Jamel King in Blue & Gold uniforms.

In the scrimmage, Bridges led the Gold team to a 74-57 victory, as he poured in 21 points. Isaiah Cottrell and Kobe Johnson contributed 16 each for the Gold. The Blue squad was topped by McNeil, who had 16 points. Taj Thweatt added 14, while Gabe Osabuohien and Dimon Carrigan both had 10 points.

“We can make shots; we’ve got guys who can make shots,” said Huggins, who is preparing for his 14th season as the head coach of his alma mater. “I think we’ll be able to stretch defenses if they continue to shoot it the way they’ve been shooting it. In particular, Sean and Taz, though J.B. (Bridges) has also shot it really well. That’s three guys on the perimeter, and Isaiah has shot it really, really well (he was seven of nine from the floor and one of two from three in the scrimmage). He’s whatever, 6-foot-10, 6-foot-11 or 7-foot-2 with his hair.

“It’s hard to tell anything when you play against yourselves, because they know what’s going to happen before it happens. It’s hard to run offense,” analyzed WVU’s coach. “Gabe (a fifth-year senior) is there telling everyone what’s going to happen before it happens. That would be great if we were playing somebody else.”

West Virginia’s first opportunity to play someone else will come on Friday, Oct. 29, when it hosts Akron in a charity exhibition game that will tip-off at 7 p.m. The Mountaineers’ regular-season opener will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. when Oakland comes to the WVU Coliseum.

One of the reasons Osabuohien knows what’s going to happen is because he’s one of the most experienced Mountaineers, having spent two years at Arkansas before transferring to West Virginia, where he’s now heading into his third season.

The 6-foot-8, 230-pound veteran, who was a member of the all-Big 12 defensive team last year, has been known in the past much more for his effort (4.4 rebounds per game last season) and hustle (171 deflections and 23 charges taken) than his offensive output (1.7 points per game). Osabuohien put in a lot of work this summer, though, trying to improve his offensive skill level.

“I looked down from my office and was shocked when I saw the ball go in the first time,” chuckled Huggins of glimpsing Osabuohien’s summer workouts.

“I can’t believe how much better he’s gotten,” the coach continued of the Toronto, Canada, native. “That’s all him. He was in here every day, pretty much all day.

“His mechanics were horrible, but he’s really cleaned that up. He’s not making shots like the other guys (Sherman, McNeil, Bridges and Cottrell), but he is making shots now.”

Osabuohien made four of seven field goal attempts and two of three from the foul line Friday.

While the losses of Deuce McBride (15.9 points per game last season), Derek Culver (14.3 ppg), Emmitt Matthews (7.7 ppg) and Jordan McCabe (2.2 ppg) take away four of the top seven scorers from West Virginia’s 19-10 club of 2020-21, with the return of Sherman (13.4 ppg), McNeil (12.2 ppg) and Bridges (5.9 ppg), Huggins seems less worried about his offense this coming season than he does about other aspects, like rebounding, defense and ballhandling.

“We’ve got to pass it better, but that’s probably everybody this time of year,” Huggins stated. “We do bang a lot of balls off ankles.

“Defense is all about reacting,” added the coach, who holds a 900-382 career record. “If you just stand and watch, you’ll have to run and try to catch up, and you’ll never catch up. We were so good at running through balls before because we reacted so well, but we haven’t reacted like that in a couple years.”

On Friday, the two teams totaled nine steals, as well as 28 assists. Curry led the way in the assist department with seven while turning the ball over twice and scoring four points.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WV News) — The No. 21-ranked West Virginia University men’s soccer team travels to Kalamazoo, Michigan, for a Mid-American Conference match at Western Michigan on Saturday, Oct. 16. Kickoff at the WMU Soccer Complex is set for 12 p.m. ET.

Of note, Saturday’s match will not be streamed.

“(Western Michigan) has a way of doing things and has an identity,” WVU coach Dan Stratford said. “Chad (Wiseman) has delivered his message well because the players have bought in and are executing. I don’t think there are any secrets for what they’ll look to do, and I don’t think there will be any secrets on what we’ll look to do. It’ll be about who can execute with the greater amount of conviction and who wants it more.”

Saturday marks the 13th meeting between the Mountaineers (6-1-4, 0-1-1 MAC) and Broncos (4-4-4, 0-1-0 MAC). The series is tied, 5-5-2, while WMU holds a slim, 3-2-1 edge in matches played in Kalamazoo.

The two squads split a pair of meetings last season, with WVU falling to Western Michigan, 1-0, on March 14, on the road, before it earned a 3-1 win on March 31, at home. Overall, 10 of the previous 12 matchups in the series have ended in one-goal games or draws.

Saturday’s match also marks the third fixture in WVU’s current, four-match road trip.

Last time out, WVU fell to Northern Illinois, 2-0, on Oct. 9, in DeKalb, Illinois. The setback snapped the Mountaineers’ 10-game, season-opening unbeaten streak, good for the longest to begin a year in program history.

West Virginia was placed at No. 21 in this week’s United Soccer Coaches Division I National Poll, marking WVU’s sixth straight top-25 ranking. The squad also sits at No. 11 in the College Soccer News and TopDrawerSoccer polls.

Senior forward Yoran Popovic paces West Virginia with four goals and eight total points this season. What’s more, the Zuidlaren, Netherlands, native has found the back of the net in four of his last six contests.

In goal, fifth-year senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky enters the weekend ranked No. 7 in the nation in shutouts (6) and No. 11 nationally in goals against average (.459).

Stratford enters Saturday's fixture with a 73-8-10 record as a head coach, including 12-4-5 with the Mountaineers.

Western Michigan is led by ninth-year coach Chad Wiseman, who is 87-49-24 during his time in Kalamazoo. The Broncos have finished .500 or better in nine straight seasons, dating back to 2012.

Last time out, WMU took down Michigan State, 2-0, on Oct. 13, at home. Of note, all four of the Broncos’ wins have come at home this season.

Dylan Sing leads the club with four goals, while Caden Jackman has a team-best three assists.