Tim Castaneda, Sports Writer, @xTIMBOxSLICEx
UVU men’s soccer suffered its first home loss of the season at the hands of the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels by a score of 1-0 amidst cold and windy conditions Sunday afternoon. With the win UNLV improves to 3-0 in WAC play and becomes the first team to leave Clyde Field victorious.
The deciding factor and only goal of the match came on a penalty kick taken by UNLV forward Salvador Bernal in the 33rd minute. The referee blew the whistle as Bernal fell after dribbling his way just into the box among three UVU defenders.
In this match wind proved to be a factor that slowed down both teams on the offensive attack. In the first half UVU’s offensive unit played against the wind and only got off one shot. UNLV’s offensive attack went up against the wind finished the second half with just two shots.
“The conditions here throughout the match were difficult. Playing into a strong wind is gonna to put us on our heels a bit,” said UVU head coach Greg Maas. “I’m proud of the guys and their effort in the first half to dig in.”
Despite the deficit, UVU continued to show fight in the second half on the offensive attack as they saw more opportunities to score. The team finished the half with a total of 4 shots on goal.
UVU saw a couple near goals in the final minutes of the match. In the 59th minute UVU nearly scored on a long shot by UVU defender Tyler Brown from 40 yards out which curved toward the high left corner of the goal but was blocked by UNLV keeper Ryan Harding.
At the 79 minute mark UVU forward Nic Harguindeguy got position on a corner kick for a nice header inside the box sending the ball toward the middle of the goal where UNLV’s Harding stood to get the save.
As time wound down UVU got one final chance to get the ball into the back of the net in its attempt to avoid being shutout. With 45 seconds remaining Karson Payton took a corner kick as the clock ran in hopes to find a teammate in scoring position but the attempt proved unsuccessful.
“I thought our second half response was good,” said Coach Maas. “But it wasn’t good enough.”
The loss puts the UVU men’s soccer overall regular season record at 5-4-1. The team is now 1-1-1 in WAC conference play with a home record of 4-1-1.
The Wolverines begin a three-game road trip with a match against Seattle University Saturday October 18 at 8:00 p.m. MT.