Photo by Julie Ostler
OREM– The Utah Valley University men’s soccer team beat the University of Nevada Las Vegas 2-1 Saturday in its regular season home finale. As a result, the Wolverines finish the regular season a perfect 8-0 at home. The win puts UVU at 15-3 on the season and 8-1 in conference play and allows the team to control its own destiny for a regular season Western Athletic Conference title.
Before the game, seniors Alex Neff, Skyler Milne and Thomas Loomis were honored as part of Senior Night. While it was a celebration of what they’ve accomplished for the program, it was a bittersweet night for Milne, who was sidelined with a shoulder injury suffered Thursday against Grand Canyon. Seeing his team mate and captain go down was difficult for Neff, who played with a little extra emotion.
“Skyler and I have been here from the beginning,” said Neff. “We’re not only team mates but best friends as well. To see him go down and hear that news, it sucks, but he’s a great leader and a great captain and he’s out here and still supports us.”
Filling the offensive hole left by Milne, UVU’s leading scorer, was Donnett Sackie, who netted the equalizer goal just before the half, his second goal of the season. Sackie also tallied an assist on the game winner.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the goal by Donnett Sackie today,” said UVU head coach Greg Maas. “For him to equalize that game and to have the assist to Paul Hoffmeister at the end was absolutely magical.”
Both teams missed an opportunity on their first shots. Just six minutes into the game UNLV’s Marquis Pitt hit the post. In the 24th minute Karson Payton had a wide open chance but fired just wide. The pressure finally culminated in a score when UNLV’s Danny Musovski put the Rebels on the board. The lead was short lived as Sackie’s equalizer came just a minute later.
UVU played a largely strategic second half, picking their spots to attack while making sure not to give back the lead. Their situation was made a little easier in the 67th minute when UNLV’s Jason Eng was sent off with a red card, allowing the Wolverines to play 11-on-10 for the remaining 23 minutes.
“We were a little bit slow to build in the first half and they were collapsing defensively,” said Maas. “So in the second half we were trying to get the ball wide and then back inside and I thought we did an effective job.”
The game was won in the 83rd minute as Sackie sent a perfect cross pass to Hoffmeister, who put a header in the back of the net. Aaron Meyer also picked up an assist on the play.
The Wolverines will conclude their season schedule Nov. 5 as they travel to San Antonio, Texas to take on the University of Incarnate Word. They will need to win or tie to secure the WAC regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, which will be hosted at Clyde Field beginning Nov. 10.
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.