Men’s soccer: UVU falls to #23 Seattle, fails to make WAC tournament

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It was senior night, and the UVU men’s soccer team entered its final match of the regular season Saturday with a simple understanding: Beat No. 23 Seattle, earn a spot in the WAC tournament. Lose the game and the season comes to an end. At the end of the night, the Wolverines were left with a 2-1 loss, eliminating them from the postseason.

The Redhawks scored the first goal of the match in the 48th minute when UVU’s Giovanny Vazquez attempted a clearance, but the kick deflected off the face of SU’s Gabriel Ruiz and back toward the Wolverine net. The sudden deflection caught UVU keeper Joseph Wheelwright off guard and he was unable to recover as the ball bounced into the net. Ruiz was credited for the goal.

The lead didn’t stand long, as the Wolverines fought right back and tied the game just four minutes later when Karson Payton cashed in on UVU’s only shot on goal of the night. Payton took a pass from Alec Felix on the right side of the box and fired the shot back across the goal and past SU keeper Josh Adachi. Connor Salmon was also credited with an assist on the goal, which was Payton’s third of the season, all scored within the Wolverines’ final three matches.

The game winner for SU came on a penalty kick in the 62nd minute. The penalty was called on Aaron Caprio and Sergio Rivas buried the kick, effectively ending the Wolverines’ season as they were unable to find an equalizer in the final 28 minutes of the match.

The stat sheet shows a dominant performance by the Redhawks, as they outshot the Wolverines 21-6 and led shots on goal 9-1. Wheelwright made seven saves but didn’t receive much help from the offense. UVU didn’t record a shot on goal until Payton’s goal in the 52nd minute.

Prior to the start of the match, UVU honored its departing seniors: Joe Barakat, Salmon, Payton, Paul Hoffmeister, Chandler Baddley, Nic Harguindeguy and Vazquez. All seven started the game.

“We started seven seniors tonight and they put everything they could in it for 90 minutes. We wanted to make a couple of adjustments but in my heart of hearts I couldn’t take those seniors off the field,” UVU head coach Greg Maas said. “They earned the opportunity to be on the pitch and close out this last match here on Clyde Field.”