Photo by Sammie Jo Raymond
In the 60th minute, Paul Hoffmeister was awarded a UVU penalty kick and capitalized on it. He snuck it past UNLV goalkeeper Enrique Adame to give his team a 3-0 lead, but it ended up being the game winner for the Wolverines in a 3-2 win Friday. The victory moves UVU to 6-8-2 overall and 3-3-2 in the WAC. At 11 points, the Wolverines are currently in position for a berth in the WAC tournament for the first time this season. After an eight-match winless stretch, UVU is 3-0-1 in its last four matches and gaining momentum.
The Wolverines drew first blood with just three minutes remaining in the first half when Blake Frischknecht dribbled through three Rebel defenders and scored his first goal of the season. Following halftime, UVU doubled its lead in the 55th minute when Karson Payton netted his own first goal this year. Five minutes and one Hoffmeister penalty kick later, the Wolverines had their biggest lead of the night.
Despite the three-goal deficit, the Rebels wouldn’t make it easy on the Wolverines. UNLV got one back just two minutes after the Hoffmeister penalty kick when Marco Gonzalez got one past UVU goalkeeper Joseph Wheelwright, assisted by Shota Takada and Kevin Patrida. In the 87th minute, Timo Mehlich made it a one-score game.
Following the goal by Mehlich, UNLV was able to get a final push in search of an equalizer in the final seconds of the match. The Rebels got a corner kick with ten seconds remaining. The box was packed with bodies as Marquis Pitt fired a shot, but the ball didn’t get through to the net.
Some of the players on the field took exception to the physicality at the end and a brief scuffle broke out after the horn but was quickly diffused. It was a fitting ending to a progressively physical match. A total of 21 fouls and six yellow cards kept the officials busy from start to finish.
Wheelwright got the start in goal for UVU and made several spectacular saves to preserve the Wolverine lead in the second half. He finished the night with eight saves on 10 shots faced and was a big reason UVU came away with the win despite being outshot 20-6
With just two games remaining in the regular season, time is running out for the Wolverines to move up the WAC standings. They’ll try for another crucial three points Sunday at Grand Canyon. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.
I grew up on a farm in Burley, Idaho, but I’ve always had an intense love of sports. I’m studying journalism in an attempt to turn my love into a career. I’m a huge Utah Jazz, Tennessee Titans, and San Jose Sharks fan. If it’s a sport, I’ll watch it.