#28 West Virginia Men's Soccer 2012 Preview

West Virginia Mountaineers

2012 Overall Rank: #28
Conference Rank: #3 Mid-American Conference
West Virginia Men's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
West Virginia Team Page


The new season for West Virginia men’s soccer brings new challenges, new opponents and a new conference. When the announcement was made in March for the move to the Mid-American Conference Head Coach Marlon Leblanc couldn’t have been more excited for the program. While in the Big East conference, the Mountaineers would have to play up to 11 conference games in the regular season. Last season was the first year the conference dropped it down to eight games. The Big East had a total of 16 teams competing for the conference crown while the smaller MAC has eight with the new addition of West Virginia. Fewer teams don’t mean a lighter schedule for the Mountaineers 2012 season.  With the new conference come power houses like 2010 NCAA champs Akron and NCAA contenders Northern Illinois.    

2011 Record: 11-8-1, 6-3-0
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Marlon LeBlanc

The Mountaineers are looking forward to a new season in a new conference and they are confident they will be strong contenders for the conference title and the college cup. Travis Pittman, returning midfielder and senior, is geared up for the season. Pittman has being spending all summer training with MLS teams FC Dallas, Sporting KC, and DC United U-23 team where he was able to sharpen his abilities on the field and  learn some leadership skills from the players. Also returning for the Mountaineers is Andy Bevin who led the team last year with seven goals and Shadow Sebele who netted six goals in the 2011 season and recorded seven assists. Travis Pittman was quoted in an article by Grant Dovey for WVUsports.com saying, “We can make history by moving to the MAC and getting a ring for the first year. I don’t know much about the competition outside of Akron, but if we play how we’re capable then I don’t see how we can’t win the MAC and the national championship.”

The new conference brings a new schedule and new teams to play including three of the last five national champions. Akron is West Virginia’s number one conference threat in the regular season but they aren’t counting out Northern Illinois or any other conference teams to be tough matches. The Mountaineers will also see 2011 national champions North Carolina immediately followed by Wake Forrest then Penn State and Elon later in the season. The new tough schedule isn’t the only challenge West Virginia faces as 11 freshmen are joining the returning squad of 14. The Mountaineers will be relying on some new talent on both offense and defense for the 2012 season. Coach LeBlanc will be looking for a sub for Pat Eavenson in the keeper position to help if needed. Eavenson finished the season last year playing in only nine out of the season total 20 games, allowing 13 goals and tracking 25 saves. West Virginia has their work cut out for them with new players and a new conference but Coach Leblanc and the returning classmen seem mentally prepared.

Final Projection:
West Virginia has returning players in all positions which will help the newcomers find a leader in whatever spot they find themselves on the pitch. The confidence in Coach LeBlanc, Pittman, and the rest of the Mountaineer squad is a big advantage going into the 2012 season. As long as the confidence can be passed down to the freshman class then West Virginia can bring home the MAC crown and will continue to bring home wins like they did when they were in the Big East conference. The Mountaineers will make another NCAA appearance this year and possibly finish the season in the top 10, but with all the new challenges they face, they have a tough road ahead of them if they want to win a national title.   

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Andy Bevin, Sophmore, F, 7
Assists: Shadow Sebele, Senior, M, 7
Shots: Shadow Sebele, Senior, M, 47
Saves: Pat Eavenson, Senior, GK, 25

Madness 2013 MLS Draft Rankings:
#7 Eric Schoenle
#40 Andy Bevin

Madness 2012 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#28 Alessandro Mion