Freshmen Spark Rebels Past Highlanders 2-1|
Sept. 4, 2016
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) -
UNLV MEN'S SOCCER
With injuries forcing several changes to the UNLV starting lineup, the Rebel freshmen stepped up on Sunday night with a pair of freshmen scoring their first career goals to give UNLV a 2-1 win over UC Riverside in men's college soccer action from Peter Johann Memorial Field. The Rebels would split their games in the Johann Memorial Classic to improve to 2-2, while the Highlanders were handed their first loss of the season (2-1).
On Sunday, the Rebels had two true freshman and four transfers in their starting lineup, and played five more off the bench, including both goal scorers. In a match that started out slow offensively for both teams, the Rebels picked up pressure near the mid-point, and nearly posted the first goal of the game in the 29th minute when Timo Mehlich crossed a great ball to Memo Diaz, who then sent a shot that hit the crossbar before bouncing back into play.
UNLV got on the scoreboard in the 41st minute. Spencer Jackson sent a pass to a streaking Maliq Cooper on the right side. The freshman crossed in a pass right in front of the goal that classmate Connor Ryan was in a perfect spot to tap in for the score, making it a 1-0 lead for the Rebels. The half would end with that score, and UNLV holding an 8-4 edge on shots.
Cooper got in on the scoring right after halftime. Mehlich passed off to Diaz, and who lofted the ball into the middle of the goal for Cooper to come in and send to the back of the goal from six yards out. That put UNLV ahead 2-0, and the Rebels would hold that lead for almost the rest of the way. The Highlanders were kept scoreless until the final minutes, when a shot was saved by goalkeeper Richard Garness, but deflected off a Rebel defender back into the goal. That cut the edge to 2-1 in the 88th minute, the Highlanders were held without another shot though as UNLV closed out the win.
UNLV finished with an 18-10 edge on shots for the night, and a 5-2 advantage on corner kicks. Richard Garness posted four saves in goal for UNLV, while Vincent Morales had four for the Highlanders.
The Rebels return to action on Friday, Sept. 9, with a 7 pm contest at Pacific in Stockton, Calif.