WAC Champions! Musovski Scores Twice In 2-1 Win Over Falcons|
Nov. 13, 2016
OREM, Utah (UNLVRebels.com) -
UNLV MEN'S SOCCER
UNLV junior forward Danny Musovski scored twice, including the game-winner just 63 seconds after Air Force had tied the game, to lead the third-seeded Rebels to their second WAC Men's Soccer Tournament title in three years with a 2-1 win over third-seeded Air Force in the championship game Sunday afternoon from Clyde Field on the campus of Utah Valley. With the championship victory, the Rebels receive the WAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, marking their seventh all-time NCAA appearance and first since 2014.
"It hasn't sunk in," said UNLV head coach Rich Ryerson. "We began the year at 2-7, we're starting six freshman in our lineup, and to come out, play and win three games in four days against the likes of UTRGV, Utah Valley and of course Air Force, its a great feeling right now."
There will be a viewing party for Monday's NCAA Selection Show open to the public on the top floor of the Mendenhall Center on the UNLV campus, with the show slated to start promptly at 10 am. While this is the Rebels' seventh all-time appearance, this is the first time they have made the tournament as a losing record as they improved to 10-11-1, while the Falcons had their season ended at 14-7-1. The win on Sunday gave UNLV a third straight season of double-digit victories, the first time that's happened since a five-year stretch from 1987-91.
Coming into the regular season finale, the Rebels stood at 6-11-1, and had only won back-to-back games twice. But starting with the 3-1 regular season finale over UMKC, the Rebels have won a season-best four straight. Even more impressively, for a team that struggled at times on defense this year and came in allowing two goals a game, the Rebels held Air Force and Utah Valley, who ranked first and fourth in the league in goals per game, to just one total score over the semifinal and championship games.
"We've always been looking for our defensive to play better," said Ryerson. "We had set our expectations really high for them during the year, and they really put it together this weekend and in a great showing today."
Goalkeeper Enrique Adame, one of four Rebels named to the all-tournament team, faced a total of 12 Air Force shots and came up with three saves to limit the Falcons to just one score. Of Air Force's 12 total shots, only four were on goal as UNLV did everything it could to clear balls out of the box all afternoon long.
UNLV's offense meanwhile all came down to Musovski, as the junior finished with three of the team's four total shots. He put the Rebels up early 1-0 when Marquis Pitt took the ball down the left side before coming into the box and sending off a pass to Musovski near the top. Musovski one-touched the pass to the left corner of the goal from 17 yards out, making it a 1-0 Rebel lead in the 13th minute. Jason Eng was also credited with an assist on the score.
That was the only goal of the half, and UNLV took the advantage into the break despite being outshot 5-2. The Falcons grew more desperate in the second half for a score, and would take seven total shots to just fwo for the Rebels. Air Force earned seven corner kicks in the game, and would capitalize on one of them in the 78th minute. Ryan Ward took the kick for Air Force, and send it to the near side of the box when John Sims rocketed a shot to the top right corner, knotting the game at 1-1.
The momentum looked like it was going to change to the Falcons' hands following that goal, but Musovski quickly put an end to that. After Air Force kicked the ball out on the right sideline near their goal, Daniel Moran's throw in found the feet of Musovski, and before Air Force could mark him, he drove into the box and shot from 10 yards out into the goal. That score put him at 12 for the season, and he has moved into a tie for sixth place all-time in career scoring at UNLV with 81 points, passing Jason Melendez (1998-2001).
Air Force kept up the pressure while trying for a second score but the Rebels held tough to close out the victory. UNLV would finish the game having been outshot 12-4, but shots on goal were just 4-2 for Air Force.
"It was so good, to get the win today it was a huge team effort," said Musovski. "I might have gotten the goals but we battled as a team on defense for all 90 minutes, and I'm so happy we won."