West Virginia's reputation as a giant-killer grew Friday night when the Mountaineers knocked off Connecticut, ranked No. 2 in the Soccer America Men's Top 25, 1-0, before 1,773 fans, the second largest crowd ever at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium and a nationally televised audience on Fox Soccer Channel.
Jason Bristol had been inserted into the starting lineup for his first collegiate start in order to help shut down the high-scoring UConn attack, but the 6-foot-4 sophomore was the scoring hero, striking his first collegiate goal with a header off Dan Stratford's free kick seven minutes into the second half.
"I had a hunch that Jason would step up and he stepped up big for us tonight," said West Virginia coach Marlon LeBlanc after Friday's game. "It was a very important goal."
The win marked the third time this season the Mountaineers have beaten a Top 5 team. On Sept. 7, they beat then-No. 4 Maryland, 1-0, on Stratford's golden goal, and eight days later, they beat then-No. 5 Duke, 1-0, on Paul Paradise's late goal.
Oct. 19 in Morgantown, W. Va.
West Virginia 1 Connecticut 0. Goal: Bristol (Stratford) 53.
West Virginia -- Johnson, Bristol, Cunningham, Halsell, Carroll, Maworere, Stratford, Wright, Paradise, Lindroos, Anoia. Subs: Brooks, Gillespie, Yost, Hagey.
Connecticut -- Ford, King, James, Siriboe-Watson, Castillo, Pezza, Boa, Arad, Cordeiro, Priestley, White. Subs: Nicklaw, Chijindu, Holden, Jones.