Season Ended in WAC Quarterfinals for UVU Men’s Soccer

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Tim Castaneda, Sports Writer, @xTIMBOxSLICEx

A historical first season for UVU men’s soccer came to an end Thursday night in a 1-0 loss to CSU-Bakersfield in the WAC tournament quarterfinals, which also happened to be the first conference tournament game in the program’s history.

While both teams played evenly across the board in the match, Bakersfield’s goal from forward Julian Zamora in the 12th minute provided the difference maker. Zamora, who earned the WAC freshman of the year award, found the back of the net after receiving the pass off a cross from David Velasquez.

Despite a slow start leading to a 1-0 halftime deficit, UVU came out fighting in the second half in hopes of keeping the season alive, outshooting the opponent 9-5 in the period, but Bakersfield held its ground to secure the victory.

“That first half it took us awhile to get established into the game,” said UVU head coach Greg Maas. “Really, it was a tale of two halves. Bakersfield was very good in the first half and we flipped that around in the second half and threw everything we had at it. We just couldn’t get that extra touch or bounce.”

Part of the reason for UVU’s inability to come back rests on the play of Bakersfield keeper Nicolas Clever, who tallied four saves during a strong push made by the Wolverines toward the end of the game.

Although the team came up short in its first ever conference tournament appearance, the Wolverines can look back on the season’s success, from their first win to earning a No. 3 seed in in the tournament, to help them grow going forward.

“I told the guys after the game how proud I was of them and how great of a season it actually was. We’ll have an opportunity to look back and reflect and continue to grow as a team from this point forward,” Maas said.

One bright spot for UVU heading into the future includes a strong defense that only allowed 14 goals all season and entered Friday night ranked No. 19 in the nation in goals against average before the loss.

Another positive for UVU to look at includes one of its players listed amongst the best in the conference, as sophomore Alex Neff represented the school as an All-WAC first team selection as a defender.

A bright future lies ahead for this young Wolverines group with 23 freshmen set to return next season, seven of whom started Thursday night’s game.

UVU finishes its first-year campaign with an overall record of 9-7-2, 5-3-2 in WAC play.