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By Sean Karoly
Senior midfielder Joe Mayer wasted no time welcoming the fans back to Cupp Stadium for the men’s soccer home opener on Tuesday, September 10. As a part of each scoring play, Mayer tallied a hat trick as well as an assist to defeat Appalachian State and lead the Highlanders to their first win of the season.
The two teams were scoreless through 23 minutes in the match, but defender Harrison Delbridge of ASU scored the first goal of the game on an impressive header coming off of a corner kick in the 24th minute.
Just over a minute later, however, Mayer began his rampage. Junior midfielder Dario Redondo fed Mayer into a breakaway and was able to beat the keeper in a one on one scenario to tie the match at one goal apiece.
Mayer earned his assist of the night in the 39th minute on goal by senior midfielder Chel Ho Park Kim. Park Kim’s first shot was blocked by Mountaineer goalie Danny Free, but Park Kim quickly half-volleyed the rebound back into the net to give the Highs a 2-1 advantage.
Appalachian State fought back with a goal of their own early on in the second half to tie the game back up at two. Forward Stanley Broaden passed the ball to his teammate, Stephen Chapman, who scored on a one-timer from about twenty yards out.
Unfazed by the early second half strike, Mayer went back to work. In the 68th minute alone, Mayer scored not once, but twice!
The first goal came off a short pass from junior midfielder Stephen Hudgens. The second of the two goals in the minute came off of a costly turnover in Mountaineer territory. Senior midfielder Luis Grande scooped up the lost ball and passed to Mayer, who drilled the ball past the keeper and capped off his first hat trick of the season.
The team didn’t score any other goals in the last 22 minutes, but senior goalkeeper Dane Wilson and the rest of the defense returned the favor by shutting out Appalachian State in that time span as well.
With the win, RU’s men’s soccer team now has one win, one loss, and one tie, with the loss coming to Penn State and the tie coming from West Virginia.