Carter Johnson finished the game with two key assists in the 3-0 victory

Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics

The men’s soccer team convincingly secured a homecoming win Sept. 29, beating out the University of Incarnate Word Cardinals 3-1. The Wolverine’s impressive performance was defined by the team’s dominant defense as they allowed a total of zero shots on goal, along with stellar ball movement that gave them great opportunities to get 10 shots on goal of their own.

“I’ve got to credit the guys,” said coach Greg Maas.  “We’ve got a really young group of players that have bought into our system and into their commitment to one another. Today was a team effort.  We talked about our priorities being lock down defense and minimizing their opportunities.”

UVU had chances early on, but failed to convert on a penalty kick 16 minutes in as well as a remarkable block from Cardinal goalie Carlos Mercado from an incoming shot from Luis Vargas. UIW’s defensive stronghold wouldn’t last long as splendid ball movement from Leo Fuchs and Carter Johnson allowed Luis Garza to score the opening goal of the game at minute 41.

“We’re just trying to find the open guy. We’re trying not to force things but find the simple pass and I think that allowed things to open up for us tonight,” Johnson said.

Three minutes later, Zahir Vazquez would find the back of the net on an assist from Mark Brown. Johnson would again help get the team on the scoreboard, as he and Zach Maas again moved the ball beautifully to get Austin Buxton in scoring position.

“I thought we did a great job of maintaining possession of the ball in dangerous areas of the field. We exploited space and took advantage of it and created multiple scoring opportunities,”  Coach Maas said.

The UIW team had their fair share of behavioral issues on the field. Cardinal Antonio Savi had a questionable body shot that had him red carded. The height of the drama had Incarnate Word keeper Mercado thrown out of the game after he exchanged words and charged midfield towards Wolverine players.

“I can understand their frustration.  They’re down a couple of goals, they’re having difficulty getting any possession of the ball and they’re chasing a lot of the game. They’re going to try to instill their will and be disruptive on the game, and I don’t fault them for that.  We’ve got to stay focused on what our role and responsibility is, and I thought we did that the entire match,” Coach Maas said.

UVU will continue to play through the bulk of WAC play throughout the next month.  The win over UIW puts the Wolverines at 2-1-0 in conference play. They head on a challenging road trip to visit California Baptist and California State University Bakersfield. The team will try to maintain focus on their big win tonight to help push them forward on the road.

“Those are two important games for us on the road,” Coach Maas said. “We return for three straight games at home after that, and I know that’s something we’re looking forward to as well to put us in a good position going into the WAC tournament.”

Andrew Creer

Sports Editor