The Mountaineers (5-5, 1-1 Sun Belt) cruised past Howard University (0-11-2) Saturday night with a 2-0 victory. The game was centered around the goal scored by freshman midfielder Daniel Avila.
Avila scored in the 75th minute to give the Mountaineers a 2-0 lead.
The play was built up from senior defender Alex Beranger, who sent in a pass to the midfield connecting with Avila.
The defenders of Howard pushed up their line, charging at Avila while he performed his own rendition of the “Ronaldo Chop,” leaving a defender in the dust after a missed tackle. One defender was left for Avila to beat, the two jostled with each other, ending with another missed tackle from Howard’s defense.
“I wasn’t thinking much, I was just focused on scoring,” Avila said.
The Bison goalkeeper charged Avila, but the pressure didn’t faze him. Avilla rolled the ball off his right foot and chipped it over the goalkeeper. The goal was Avila’s first of the season and of his collegiate career.
Coach Matt Nelson wasn’t shy with applauding his freshman midfielder after the game.
“Having the composure to slice through two defenders and chip it over the goalkeeper is a big time finish from a guy who is turning into a big time player,” Nelson said.
Goalkeeper Jake Chasteen also earned his third shutout win of the season, and perhaps his easiest, as he didn’t have to make a single save.
Nelson also said the team has done a great job capitalizing on their home-field-advantage, something key to building momentum over the course of a season.
“We have two wins at home now and it always helps to play in front of your home crowd,” Nelson said. “We are always looking to improve. If we can continue to focus on getting better every day, we will be where we want to be by the end of the year.”
The Mountaineers travel to Clinton, South Carolina for a match against Presbyterian Blue Hose (0-9-1). Kickoff is set at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Story by: Brent Gilmore, Intern Sports Reporter