ELKINS, W.Va – West Virginia and Marshall may have the Mountain State Derby coming up later this fall, but a budding college soccer rivalry kicks off again Wednesday night.
The tenth-ranked Davis & Elkins men’s soccer team hosts the national runner-up, second-ranked University of Charleston Golden Eagles at Nuttall Field on Wednesday.
Facing an opponent he’s all too familiar with after four meetings last season, Senators head coach Dean Johnson is doing his best to prepare his squad for what’s ahead.
“It’s tough to be honest because we know it’s going to be a good game. It’s two of the best teams in Division II right now so I think across the country it’s probably one of the biggest games this weekend in college soccer,” he said.
In two regular season matchups a year ago, D&E upset the then-top ranked Golden Eagles 1-0 in Charleston before drawing 1-1 in Elkins.
Charleston knocked off the Senators 4-1 in the MEC tournament and then after a scoreless 110 minutes, ended the season for Davis and Elkins on penalties.
With high stakes in this one, Johnson feels like his team is prepared for a moment like this and excited for the challenge.
“It’s tough but it’s always a great game. These are the games that the boys want to play and it’s a big game for the conference and for the nation, for Division II so I think these are the big games that everyone wants to play in so we’re excited and we’re really hopeful that we can replicate last year and get the first win and keep it moving from there,” he said.
Both teams enter the match undefeated and without conceding a goal this season.
For the Senators, they’ve outscored opponents 15-0 through three matches with senior Daniel Cerezo netting three goals in as many matches.
In goal, freshman Beltran Fernandez has made all three starts to begin his collegiate career, being called on to stop ten shots so far.
Cerezo and senior defender Soshi Fujioka were named the Mountain East’s Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week on Monday.
Kickoff between the Senators and Golden Eagles is set for 7 p.m., preceded by the women’s match at 5 p.m.