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LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV forwards Salvador Bernal and Nick Marshall both finished with a goal and an assist to lift the Rebels past Cal State Northridge 3-1 in a early Friday afternoon contest in men's college soccer action from Peter Johann Memorial Field. The Rebels, with the win in their home opener, improved to 1-3-1 on the year, while the Matadors dropped to 2-3.
UNLV also earned its first win at home since the 2010 season, breaking a 10-game losing streak on its home field. "After our play at home last season, for us to come out and win in our home opener today, we hope it sets the stage for the rest of the year," said UNLV head coach Rich Ryerson. "The return of Marshall also made a huge impact for us today and allowed us to keep attacking in the second half to come up with the two scores."
The score was tied at halftime, but Marshall put the Rebels ahead in the 48th minute thanks to a well set-up play. With UNLV driving up the field on a counter attack, Bernal took the ball into the left side of the box, and then fed a streaking Marshall, who blasted a shot across the cage from 15 yards out to the left post. That score, Marshall's first year of the year, put UNLV up 2-1. The Matadors pushed their attack in an attempt at the tying score, but despite taking 15 shots in the second half they were denied by the play of the Rebel defense and goalkeeper Joe Vitale, who finished with a career-high 10 saves.
UNLV sealed the game in the 86th minute, when Marshall too the ball deep on the left baseline before sending a low hard pass right in front of the goal. A Matador defender was only able to slow the ball, and Robert Garcia took advantage with a quick shot from five yards out for the score, putting the Rebels up 3-1.
Bernal posted the day's first goal, following a corner kick by the Rebels. The kick went over the crowd in the box to Connor Coletti, who took a shot that was deflected out to Bernal right outside the box. He then unleashed a rocket to the top left corner, putting UNLV up 1-0. However the Matadors tied the game just two minutes later in the 23rd minute. Beto Velasuez took a hard shot that was initially stopped by Vitale before it slipped out of his grasp, and Sagi Lev-Ari was there to grab the loose ball and put in the back of the net for a 1-1 tie game.
Cal State Northridge finished with a 25-17 edge on shots, and 11-6 on shots on goal, and also took six corner kicks to four for the Rebels. Michael Abalos was in goal for the Matadors, posting three saves over the 90 minutes.
UNLV returns to action on Sunday, Sept. 9, hosting UC Riverside at 4:30 pm in the final game of a tripleheader, which will also feature the UNLV women playing Montana at 1 pm.