UVU Men’s Soccer WAC Opener Ends in Draw
Tim Castaneda, Sports Writer, @xTIMBOxSLICEx
In the first WAC regular season match for the UVU men’s soccer program, the Wolverines kept pace with defending WAC champion and no. 24 ranked Seattle University leading to a 1-1 draw Saturday at Clyde Field. The Wolverines looked to pull off their second upset against a nationally ranked opponent while remaining unbeaten at home.
The teams played evenly in the first half but Seattle’s early offensive aggression helped them take a 1-0 lead in the first 45 minutes. Seattle scored in 9th minute of the game after forward Hamza Haddadi received a pass from Ian Hines-Ike inside the box on the right side and kicked it in from 12 feet. UVU remained up to the task of coming from behind as they ended up getting off 5 shots in the half, compared to 4 for the visitors.
UVU captain and forward Karson Payton led the Wolverines’ second half charge to help the team even the score at 1-1. The equalizer came in the 62nd minute on Payton’s miraculous free kick shot attempt near the left sideline from 30 yards out as the ball took a bounce and made its way past Denver keeper Shane Haworth. UVU fought back against its tough opponent as it put up 12 shot attempts in the second half, 6 of which came from the freshmen captain.
“I knew if you whip it in there the goalies have a problem with knowing if someone is gonna get a flick on the ball,” said Payton of the game tying shot. “I just whipped it in as hard as I could, the ball took a nice bounce and the goalie couldn’t find where it was.”
The shootout between both teams continued into the match’s two overtime periods as each keeper faced aggressive offensive attacks throughout the game. Both teams combined for 34 total shots for the game, including each overtime period. UVU keeper Collin Partee made 6 saves on the night. Seattle’s Haworth ended the night with 4 saves to go along with 1 defensive save for Seattle as a team.
Despite great effort from both teams on the offensive attack, neither team successfully put the ball in the net as the match ended with a 1-1 tie. One of UVU’s best shot attempts in the two overtime periods came when Matt Gay hit a hard shot from the top center of the box which sailed just right of the goal. Seattle nearly took the lead in overtime as Seattle’s Race Sciabica attempted a shot from one foot in front the goal but the ball ended up deflecting off the top of the post.
After facing its third nationally ranked opponent in four games, the Wolverines have a record of 4-3-1. The team however remains unbeaten at home with a 3-0-1 record in front of the home crowd at Clyde Field.
UVU men’s soccer continues to search for its first victory in WAC play with another home match against conference foe Grand Canyon next Friday October 10 at 5 p.m.