Utah Valley dominated all facets of their match against UNLV on their way to snapping the Rebels two-game win streak with a 4-1 win Saturday night at Clyde field. With the victory, the Wolverines moved to 6-3-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
The Wolverines tied the overall series record between the two schools at 5-5, and enacted revenge on the Rebels for the 1-0 loss they handed them in Las Vegas last season.
“Our biggest thing today was to just find a way to win,” said UVU head coach Kyle Beckerman. “[Last week] we still had chances to win … we just didn’t score and were putting too much pressure on ourselves. We just told the guys to get back to what we do and work hard. Our press ultimately gives us the attacking chances to dictate the game. So all-in-all it was a good night and we’ll take it.”
The first shot of the game didn’t come until the seventh minute when UNLV was threatening deep in the UVU defensive side. The UNLV forwards ran a decoy to the middle of the box and passed the ball to a different attacker just outside the box. The shot was well defended and blocked by the Wolverines back line, but the UNLV attacker was able to get another shot off of the rebound. The shot was poorly hit and subsequently gathered up by senior goalkeeper Joseph Wheelwright.
It was Las Vegas native and senior defender Sterling Penniston-John that found the back of the net for UVU in the 23rd minute. The Wolverines were set up with a free kick just outside the box and freshman midfielder Alejandro Silva sent the ball in to Penniston-John who was able to head it in for the first score.
The Wolverines would take a 2-0 lead into the half after senior midfielder Evans Armah back-heeled a pass from sophomore forward Aaron Nixon and snuck the ball past the UNLV keeper.
Junior midfielder Jojea Kwizera was the third UVU player to score in the match when he scored from 16 yards out off an assist from junior defender Cameron Weston.
After many close calls throughout the game, UNLV was finally able to break through the Wolverine defense in the 79th minute on a header from Aedon Kyra to avoid being shut out on the road.
The Wolverines would put the game away in the 87th minute with a cheeky chip shot goal over the Rebels keeper from senior midfielder James Pena who became the fourth different player to score for UVU on Saturday.
UVU continues conference play on the road at Chicago State on Friday, Oct. 22. The game can be viewed on ESPN+.
Brice Larson is currently a Junior at UVU majoring in communications with an emphasis in journalism and media studies. He enjoys everything about sports and one day hopes to become a college football analyst and play by play commentator.