The Mountain State Derby’s first entry in the Sun Belt gave the rivalry a fast and physical chapter as No. 4 Marshall topped West Virginia at its Hoops Family Field in Huntington on Saturday.
Milo Yosef separated the two teams with a dagger in the 85th minute, finishing off a solo counter-attack for the game’s only goal. The victory moves Marshall (5-1-1, 1-0-1 Sun Belt) into a tie for the league’s top spot with No. 5 Kentucky, who defeated Georgia State on Saturday, with four points in the standings.
Dan Stratford’s Mountaineers (2-5-1, 0-2-2) have dropped points in its first two conference matches. They sit tied for sixth in the Sun Belt with one point.
The match was even for the first 84 minutes of play, especially in the first half. Each team registered three shots before halftime, but WVU was the only squad to test the opponent’s keeper, forcing Oliver Semmle to make his first of three saves in the match.
Physicality was ever-present for all 90 minutes. Referee Chico Grajeda whistled for 20 fouls in the match, 12 of which went against West Virginia. He also handed out four bookings, two for each team.
The second half was a midfield battle as either team struggled to enter the attacking third with possession. WVU got its best chance on the net in the 79th minute when Luke McCormick connected with Marcus Caldeira on a cross, but Semmle made a point-blank save to keep the Mountaineers scoreless. Five minutes later, Semmle made another clutch save on a shot by Ryan Crooks, but couldn’t corral the ball in.
Kyle Lehnert had the chance to score the rebound from a tough angle on an open net, but he missed the shot wide right.
That set up the counter-attack for Marshall, as Yosef would finally beat WVU goalkeeper Jackson Lee 33 seconds later for his fifth goal of the campaign.
After the final whistle, a sea of Herd supporters rushed onto the pitch to celebrate the victory. Saturday’s fixture was the 25th meeting between Marshall and West Virginia in history, but the two programs met for the first time as conference foes. The Herd also take their first win over the Mountaineers since they met in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. It was also their first win over WVU in the regular season since 2000.
Marshall maintains its impressive unbeaten record at Hoops Family Field, as the Herd hasn’t lost on its home turf in the regular season since Sept. 17, 2019.
West Virginia stays on the road for its next clash, traveling to Dayton for a non-conference meeting with the Flyers. Kickoff is set for Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+.