BOONE, N.C. – Appalachian State University men’s soccer improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2008 with a 2-1 victory over VMI (0-3) on Saturday evening in the home opener at Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex.
App State has outscored its opponents, 7-3, in the first three contests of the season while it improves to an impressive 37-2-1 against the Keydets after the triumph.
“It feels great to be 3-0,” head coach Jason O’Keefe said. “It’s where everyone wants to be after three games, and were fortunate enough to be 3-0. Each game has been very challenging, asks questions and our guys have shown a resiliency that no matter what it takes, we find a way to win.”
Leading 1-0 in the second half, VMI’s Wilson Tuck tied up the game in the 64th minute, 1-1. However, the game wasn’t tied for long when Juan Hernandez (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) fed Justin Pruitt (Matthews, N.C./Weddington) a nice ball and then needed to beat just one defender in the box and did so before slipping the shot in the right corner. Pruitt’s first goal of the season gave App a 2-1 lead in what became the first-game winning score of his career.
VMI didn’t threaten the Apps the rest of the way, as the lone shot it attempted was the match-tying score. App State held a dominating 17-1 edge for a season high in shot attempts and a favorable 8-1 advantage in shots on goal. The Black and Gold is boasting a solid .522 SOG percentage (24-46) through the first three games.
Appalachian struck first at 35′ when Ian Bennett (Wilmington, N.C./New Hanover) took advantage of a VMI foul and found the back of the right corner off a free kick for his first goal of the season to give the Black and Gold a 1-0 lead.
Pruitt led the way with two shots on goal while six other Mountaineers registered a shot on target. Felix Kollmannthaler (Frankfurt, Germany/Julius-Echter-Gymnasium), Zeiko Harris (Sandys Parish Bermuda/South Kent), and Brady Gunter (Kernersville, N.C./East Forsyth) played all 90 minutes to help anchor a backline that limited the Keydets to a season low in shot attempts. Jake Chasteen (Boone, N.C./Watauga) played all 90 minutes between the posts and got the win as the goalkeeper.
App State will look for a 4-0 start to the season against Belmont on Monday at 1 p.m.