WLU Men’s soccer take to the field for the first time in over 400 days this Sunday.

Head Coach Sean Regan’s team will travel down to play against last year’s NCAA Division II Champions, University of Charleston in their season opener in what is set to be a tough challenge for the Toppers.

In a shortened version of a regular season, the Hilltoppers will play eight games against fellow Mountain East Conference (MEC) teams in an attempt to qualify for the post-season MEC tournament. Regan’s side have not seen competitive action since Fall 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic so the anticipation of playing again is high. “I can’t wait! It’s been such a long time, I’m ready and so are the lads,” said Regan.

On top of COVID restrictions making things more difficult than usual, soccer usually primarily takes place in the fall semester so the weather has made accessing facilities a challenge. The squad have only been able to set foot on the field a handful of times since the beginning of January making preparation difficult. However, the team has been working hard to get ready for games regardless of the adverse conditions. “It’s been very difficult but nearly every team is in the same boat. We are lucky that we have the highlands as a backup option. We have been very lucky that we haven’t had any COVID related issues,” said Regan.

This is Regan’s second season at the helm of West Liberty’s Men’s Soccer program, and the first year that his recruits will see action. Regan said, “We have a very talented freshman class backed by a solid group of returning players. Our goal for this season is to build on what we did in 2019. We finished above wheeling and Concord and if we can finish one place higher or get one more win then we have taken steps forward.”

WLU have two challenging fixtures to start off their season. This Sunday, (Feb. 28) the team will travel down to Charleston to take on reigning MEC and Division II Champions, the Golden Eagles of UC, who are coming off the back of an 8-0 win in their season opener against Frostburg State University last weekend. March 5 sees the Toppers compete against Notre Dame College (Ohio) in their first home game of the season. The Falcons finished second in the MEC last season. Regan said, “We know that we play the two best teams right away. That’s not great! We are not looking at the end result but the little goals in each game that we want to achieve… [We want] to be competitive in every match and to be better every game.”

Although in-person spectators are restricted for safety reasons at the moment, this weekend’s game is available to view online on UC’s website. Keep up to date with Hilltoppersports.com and the Trumpet Sports for updates on the Topper’s season.