Record-breaking season for Men’s soccer; Mixed season for Women’s soccer

Record-breaking season for Men’s soccer

West Liberty’s men’s soccer team had a record breaking season in what was the program’s second year competing in the Mountain East Conference. Head Coach Sean Regan’s youthful Hilltoppers’ won 5-0 over Frostburg State University meant that they recorded their most wins, points and highest finish in program history, finishing with an equal 4-4 record.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on their season, which was scheduled to be played last fall but was rearranged into a condensed eight game season this spring. With each team only playing each other once, the Toppers finished tied for fourth place, narrowly missing out on the final spot in the MEC play-offs which came down to their head to head record against West Virginia Wesleyan College (4-4).

What makes their season even more impressive is that they have one of the youngest squads in the conference, giving minutes to 10 freshmen and starting up to six every game. With only five players on the team graduating and not returning next season, the young Toppers have given themselves an extremely strong platform to build on in the coming seasons.

They had an extremely difficult start to the season, facing the top two ranked teams in the conference, Notre Dame College (Ohio) and the University of Charleston, putting in brave performances but losing 1-0 and 2-0 respectively. WLU then got on the board with their first win over local rivals Wheeling University in extremely dramatic fashion, scoring in the last seven seconds of the second overtime to secure the win. The Hilltoppers also recorded wins over Concord University, Alderson Broaddus University and Frostburg State University.

In a season full of collective hard work, there were also some standout individual performances. Senior forward Josh Yeaman led the team’s scoring with six goals, while freshman Vitor Otsuka had an outstanding season, recording three goals and two assists. It was also an impressive season for the hilltoppers’ defence, conceding just 10 goals in eight games – a much better defensive record than the previous season. Defender Mikel Ubeda and junior goalkeeper Noah Underwood played every minute and were a significant part of the team’s success this season.

The team has made huge strides this season and they will be hoping to go one further and make the postseason in the fall, where they will return to their regular 16-game season.


Mixed season for Women’s soccer

West Liberty’s women’s soccer team had a season of ups and downs, finishing third in the MEC North Division with a record of 2-4-2. The lady hilltoppers knew from the start that this season was not going to be an easy one as they faced off in an extremely competitive conference.

Coming into the season they were ranked third in their division by the conferences’ coaches, placing above Wheeling University but below Fairmont State University and Notre Dame College (Ohio). They took on the Notre Dame Falcons in their first competitive game in over 18 months, coming out on the wrong side of a 1-0 scoreline after a hardworking performance.

The coming weeks saw much of the same hard work as the Lady Toppers recorded draws against the Fairmont Falcons and West Virginia State University Yellow Jackets while also picking up their first victory with a 2-0 win against their local rivals Wheeling University. A series of three consecutive losses to Fairmont, Notre Dame and the regionally ranked University of Charleston in the second half of the season then put an unfortunate end to their challenge for a spot in the MEC playoffs.

Head Coach Barry Chirstmas’ team did not let this dampen their spirits however as they finished their season with a 3-0 away win against the Wheeling University Cardinals, courtesy of goals from MEC stand-out Alyssa Rhinaman and freshman defender Georgia Richardson. Both Rhinaman and Richardson have had impressive seasons on the hilltop, contributing four goals between them.

Another standout for WLU was defender Grace Fodor, who had previously spent four years playing for the West Liberty’s women’s basketball team. Fodor is an extremely athletic defender and has put her physical skills to good use in becoming a fine dual-sport college athlete.

The lady toppers will be hoping to improve on their performances this coming fall as they return to their regular format this season where they will play a full schedule of 16 games.

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