Photo by Samantha Raymond
Additional reporting by Ryan Willie
For the Wolverines, Homecoming week left a lot to be desired on the field of play. Across all sports, UVU finished the week a winless 0-7. However, that’s not as bad as it might sound in some cases, as a couple of the squads were able to put up a good fight against nationally ranked opponents. You can find a roundup of the weekend’s events below.
After starting the week with a 1-3 loss to Weber State on the road, the volleyball team welcomed a pair of nationally ranked in-state teams to Lockhart Arena. First up was No. 16 Utah. The Wolverines started fast, winning the first set, but were ultimately unable to overcome the Utes.
In the second match of the weekend, UVU gave No. 14 BYU almost all they could handle. The Wolverines jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the first set, but after coming to an 11-11 tie the Cougars took control with a 6-0 run. UVU came within two points late in the set, but BYU shut the door with a 25-21 win to take a 1-0 lead.
A 6-0 run of their own put the Wolverines in control of the second set. A late rally put the Cougars within striking distance, but UVU closed out the set with a 25-22 final.
The third set was the best of the match, with each team going on dueling runs throughout. The Cougars took an early 16-10 lead using a 10-2 run before the Wolverines matched it with separate 5-0 and 7-1 runs of their own. This set up a 24-24 tie, which BYU broke with two straight points to win the set 26-24. In the final set of the night, the fatigue set in for UVU and the Cougars wasted no time with a 25-17 win to take the match 3-1.
The Wolverines were led by Lexi Thompson, Alexis Davies and Madison Dennison with 12, 11 and 10 kills respectively. Dennison also made her presence felt at the net with a match-high eight blocks.
Of all the Wolverines’ losses across Homecoming week, the men’s soccer team’s 0-2 was the most disappointing. Now sitting at 3-3 some of the shine is coming off of the UVU team which has garnered national attention for the past three seasons.
The weekend started with a 2-1 loss to Sacramento State, the second loss to the Hornets in as many years. The match started with Paul Hoffmeister scoring his second goal of the year in the 31st minute. Assisted by Giovanny Vazquez and Karson Payton, Hoffmeister got a header off of a free kick play and was able to put it past Sac State goalkeeper James Del Curto for a 1-0 UVU lead.
The Wolverine lead didn’t last as the Hornets netted their two goals of the match within eight minutes. Josh Dull got the equalizer in the 70th minute off a rebound, assisted by Dennis Cole. Then, in the 78th minute Brad Bumgarner took the lead for the Hornets on an unassisted goal after the ball was mishandled by UVU goalkeeper Elliott Rubio. UVU got a good amount of pressure to close out the match, but never found the equalizer.
In its second match of the weekend, the team hosted a top-ten team for the first time ever, facing off against No. 9 Omaha. The Wolverines dug an early 2-0 hole as the Mavericks got goals from Cole Nelson and Elvir Ibisevic on corner kicks from Xavier Gomez. Then, in the final minute of the first half, Mavericks goalkeeper Joseph Ghitis delivered a long pass from his own box and Hamzat ran down the ball and poked it by Rubio to make it 3-0 at halftime.
“They had three moments in the game,” UVU head coach Greg Maas said. “We gifted them three goals.”
The Wolverines responded well coming out of the break. Gui Leme found Connor Salmon, who slotted it past Ghitis to put UVU on the board in the 54th minute. UVU kept the pressure on, winning more balls in the midfield and creating multiple scoring opportunities, but were unable to find another goal to continue the comeback.
The stat line shows a 3-1 defeat, but that will not do the Wolverine’s complete justice with how the match played out. Overall, UVU outshot Omaha 19-4, including 12-1 in the second half. The majority of the second half saw UVU in the Omaha half, attacking the box and forcing the Mavericks back in their own penalty area to defend. Unfortunately, the ball could not make its way into the back of the net.
“I thought throughout the entire match we were the better team,” Maas said. “Our response to being down 3 nil at halftime was everything I come to expect out of this group. If we continue to play just like that, we’re going to win a lot of games.”
In its Homecoming match, the women’s soccer team took a 2-1 lead with just five minutes remaining. However, the Wolverines unable to hold on and lost in double overtime.
The team wrapped the weekend with a road match against North Dakota State Sunday. The Wolverine’s woes only continued though, as they were blanked 2-0 and handed the Bison their first win of the season.
UVU outshot NDSU 15-7 and tripled up the Bison in shots on goal 9-3. Breanna McCarter, Ashlyn Farnes and Libby Weber led the Wolverine attack with two shots on goal each. However, Bison goalkeeper Monica Polgar stood tall, earning the shutout with all nine saves for her team. On the other end, Hanna Norman netted the brace with goals coming in the 35th and 79th minutes.