The Utah Valley University Wolverines overcame an early two-goal deficit against Grand Canyon University at Clyde Field, capturing a 3-2 victory in overtime on Saturday, Nov. 2.
The Wolverines found themselves in a Grand Canyon-sized hole early on. With the Antelopes netting two goals in the first eight minutes, both goals coming within just a minute of each other. The quick scoring chances were a shock to UVU, who struggled to cut into the deficit until well after halftime.
“Our start was shocking to be honest. To gift GCU two early goals made the end result even that much more impressive,” UVU head coach Greg Maas said to reporters. “The entire team and staff took accountability at halftime, and our response showed incredible character and determination. To be fair, we also had some individual performances tonight that triggered an inspiring team response – I couldn’t be more proud.”
In the 62nd minute, UVU finally broke through. Junior Sterling Penniston-John, attacking from his normal defender position, deflected a long throw-in from sophomore Caleb Wight with his head and found the back of the net. The goal was his first as a Wolverine.
With the lead cut in half, UVU tried to find some magic of their own and follow up the goal with a quick equalizer. Just over a minute later, junior Zach Maas did exactly that. Feeding off the energy from the first goal, Maas took a pass off his chest from senior Blake Frischknecht — this time assisting instead of scoring himself — turned, and fired the ball past the GCU keeper. The game-tying goal was Maas’ third in the last three games.
After battling until the end of regulation, the score remained tied at 2-2 and headed to overtime. Just 80 seconds into the first overtime period, UVU completed the comeback, winning the game on an own-goal committed by GCU.
The victory assured the Wolverines of no worse than a third-place finish in the WAC conference standings heading into the final match of the season, a home contest with Air Force on Nov. 9, at 1 p.m. MST. Seven UVU seniors will be honored before their final home match.