Photo courtesy UVU Athletics
USAFA, Colo.—Alex Neff and Skyler Milne returned to the lineup Friday, but it was Paul Hoffmeister who lifted the Utah Valley University men’s soccer team over the Air Force Academy. Hoffmeister scored his third brace of the season as UVU knocked off Air Force 2-0.
Hoffmeister put pressure on Air Force goalkeeper John Wendt all night as he fired five shots, including three on goal. The first of his five shots came early as Hoffmeister put Wendt to work with a shot on target in the 7th minute.
Karson Payton put shots on goal in the 16th and 19th minutes, but Wendt sent back both attempts.
Hoffmeister struck in the 27th minute as he took a throw in from Nic Harguindeguy, dribbled across the top of the box and fired high of the crossbar. Wendt cleared the ensuing goal kick to near midfield, but Milne sent it back with a header. Hoffmeister gathered the ricochet and drove hard at the goal. After he beat two defenders inside the penalty area, Hoffmeister sent the ball to the back, right corner of the net for a goal just 32 seconds after his prevoius errant shot.
In the 77th minute, Giovanny Vazquez cleared a free kick from midfield to the left corner to Hoffmeister. After he gathered the delivery, Hoffmeister dribbled to the center of the box, where he was met by a pair of Falcon defenders. However, the resistance was no match for Hoffmeister as he skipped the ball by the right post and into the net for a 2-0 UVU lead.
In his return, Neff’s presence was felt on the back line as he harassed would-be Falcon attackers and smothered offensive drives before they could materialize into viable threats.
Goalkeeper Mitch Jensen tallied his third shutout in three starts. Jensen got the nod for his first start when Elliott Rubio was injured prior to the beginning of a home match against Cal State Bakersfield.
With the win, UVU (10-3-0, 3-1-0 WAC) moves into second place in the Western Athletic Conference behind first-place Seattle University.
The Wolverines continue the weekend road trip with a match against the Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos Sunday at 6 p.m. MT in Kansas City, Missouri. The game with be streamed live on WAC Digital Network.
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