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No. 11 Seed WVU Tops No. 8 Tulsa & Secures Spot in Elite 8

The No. 11 West Virginia men’s soccer team beat No. 8 Tulsa 1-0 on Saturday night to reach the Elite 8 for the first time since 1981.

West Virginia head coach Dan Stratford and the Mountaineers (12-3-5) used up all of regulation, plus double overtime to end the 40-year drought of not reaching the Elite 8. It was freshman midfielder Otto Ollikainen who beamed the game-winning goal into the back of the net in the 102nd minute to clinch the victory for the Mountaineers.

Ollikainen has been the saving grace for West Virginia in the last two contests now. It was a game-winning PK in their previous contest, and then the clutch score from a corner kick on Saturday for the freshman.

A feisty defensive effort from Stratford’s team had the Golden Hurricanes out of sorts for most of the night, but they still came away with a couple huge opportunities to score. West Virginia allowed only two shots on the goal all evening, and both came in the second half and overtime. 

Tulsa’s Ben Barkley booted a shot in the 85th-minute to scare WVU, but it carried just over the top of the goal. A couple of big time saves from WVU’s fifth year goalkeeper Steven Tekeskey kept the Mountaineers hopes alive. Tekeskey ended the contest with a collection of three saves.

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West Virginia missed three chances of their own to score with shots from Ryan Crooks and Kevin Morris, including one shot that was saved just inches away by a Tulsa defender.  

Tulsa (16-2-1) was out-dueled in every aspect of offense with West Virginia holding the 10-8 advantage in shots, including 7-2 in shots on goal and 6-4 in corner kicks. 

“We had to grind this one out,” Stratford said. “We had to fight and dig really, really deep.”

The Mountaineers will take on No. 3 Georgetown (18-2-0) in the quarterfinals on December 4th in Washington, DC.