Rebel Freshmen Key Home Opener Victory
Sept. 14, 2007
LAS VEGAS - Freshmen Daniel Cruz and Stephen Sifuentes teamed up to post three goals to carry the UNLV men's soccer team to a thrilling 4-3 victory over Cal Poly in the home opener for the Rebels on Friday night in the UNLV adidas Invitational from Peter Johann Memorial Field. The win was the second straight for the Rebels, while the four goals scored was the most in a game since the 2002 season. In the day's first game, Cal State Northridge held off Cleveland State 2-0.
"I'm really proud of our players, how we worked hard through the whole game and fought hard for the win," said UNLV head coach Mario Sanchez. "We got a lot of good play our of our younger players tonight, and we hope to see that continue throughout the season."
The first goal of the night actually came off the foot of a Rebel, when Keegan Uderitz attempted to clear a ball inside the UNLV (2-2-1) box but instead knocked it into the goal for an own score, putting Cal Poly (2-1) up 1-0 in the 12th minute. Uderitz would make up for his mistake later on in the half however, as with the Rebels setting up an offense inside the box on the Cal Poly side of the field, he sent a long pass that was headed in by Ben Haugland into the right side of the goal to tie the game in the 34th minute.
The Rebels then took their first lead five minutes later, off an amazing shot by Cruz. John Crawley started the scoring play with his corner kick to Cruz outside the top of the box, and Cruz simply sent a blast to the back of the goal from 30 yards out, that Cal Poly goalkeeper Eric Branagan-Franco never had a chance at stopping.
UNLV took the 2-1 lead into halftime, but the Mustangs tied the game in the 57th minute thanks to a score from Daniel Gray, as he beat Rebel goalie Calvin Bailey to the high left corner. David Zamora was credited with an assist on the goal. The Rebels answered back in the 62nd minute, and this one was set up by the speed of Cruz, as he took a ball from midfield and sped down the left sideline, drawing two defenders. As he drove into the box, he passed off to Sifuentes, who drove into the box unmarked and scored easily from 10 yards out to make the score 3-2.
The Rebels added to their lead in the 82nd minute, when Lamar Neagle sent a long high pass across the box to the left side, where SIfuentes was waiting and he quickly buried a shot into the goal for a 4-2 Rebel edge. That would turn out to be a very needed goal as Cal Poly didn't quit attacking, and scored its third goal in the 88th minute. Bailey couldn't coral a shot from the left side, and as the ball bounced off his hands into the air, Zamora headed it in from three yards out for the score.
Bailey finished with four saves in goal, while Branagan-Franco posted three saves while allowing four scores. The shots were almost even, with Cal Poly holding an 11-10 edge.
The Rebels will close out play in the adidas Invitational on Sunday, against Cal State Northridge at 2:30 pm, while in the first game, Cal Poly and Cleveland State face off at 12 pm.