Men’s soccer secure first playoff spot in program history


Hilltopper Sports

Men’s soccer team gathers for senior day win.

West Liberty’s men’s soccer team reached the Mountain East Conference playoffs for the first time in program history with a 2-1 win over rivals Wheeling University on senior day this Saturday. The game was described as a “perfect storm” by head coach Sean Regan, who shared the touchline with his brother Brandon Regan, the Cardinals’ head coach, knowing that his team had to win or their season was over.

Prior to the game, the Hilltoppers sat in seventh place just three points behind Frostburg State University, who occupied the last playoff spot. They knew that a win would secure a playoff spot and with the game being against their closest rival on senior day, the stakes couldn’t have been higher.

The two sides faced each other earlier in the season with the Cardinals taking a 5-0 win in Wheeling, but West Liberty was clearly determined to get their revenge at home, taking control of large periods of the game. The first goal of the game didn’t come until midway through the second half when Armando Loynaz scored from the penalty spot to put the visitors ahead.

With their season on the line, the Toppers were quick to respond as just six minutes later Oskar Voges leveled the scoring as the German freshman scored the second goal of his career. Knowing that a draw wouldn’t be enough to secure a playoff berth the WLU offense continued to be relentless, putting immense pressure on the Cardinals’ goal.

This relentlessness soon paid off as in the 77th minute, junior forward Vitor Otsuka gilded past three defenders inside the box before squaring the ball to Joseph Fonagy who tapped the ball home to give his side the 2-1 lead. Fonagy heads into the playoffs in fine form, with this being his fourth goal in the last five games. The Hilltoppers defense stayed strong in the final ten minutes of the game to secure the comeback win and the programs first ever trip to the MEC Championship Tournament.

This game also marked WLU’s senior day for both soccer programs. The men’s team celebrated just one senior, with their win meaning that it will not be Mexican forward Daniel Rovira’s last game as a hilltopper.

The women’s soccer program acknowledged four seniors as Anna Johnston, Alyssa Rhinaman, Claire Kelly and Zayne Brakeall each played their final game for West Liberty in a 3-2 loss against the Cardinals of Wheeling. The lady Hilltoppers needed to win by four or more goals in the game to make the MEC playoffs but unfortunately fell short as their opponents secured the #4 seed. Each of their four seniors have been a mainstay in the team over their careers and may well turn out to be extremely difficult to replace.

The men’s team will be flying the Topper Soccer flag in the MEC playoffs and having been given the #6 seed, they will travel to South Euclid, Ohio to face off against Notre Dame College on Tuesday. This game will be a quarterfinal matchup, with Davis and Elkins College awaiting the winners of this tie in the semi-finals. The Falcons have been ranked as high as #21 nationally this season and will give the Hilltoppers a seriously challenging game.

To follow the men’s soccer teams’ progress in the MEC playoffs, head to