Rebels Are NCAA Bound After PK Shootout Win In WAC Championship|
Nov. 16, 2014
SEATTLE (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV is off to the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament for the first time since 1988 after winning the WAC Tournament championship in a penalty kick shootout over Bakersfield on Sunday afternoon in Seattle. The Rebels (14-4-3) officially ended the game in a 1-1 double-overtime tie with the Roadrunners, but converted their first four kicks to win the shootout 4-2 in the fourth round.
This is the first conference tournament championship for the Rebels since winning the 1984 Big West tournament title, while they are making their sixth all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels finished the regular season tied for third in the nation as well with 14 wins, while they rank in the top five in total goals with 44 after their score today. 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 at 9:45 am.
UNLV led for the majority of the afternoon after Tournament MVP Danny Musovski, a freshman forward from Las Vegas, served up a cross into the box that was headed in by Corey Ackley for the score. It was Ackley's second goal of the year, and put UNLV ahead 1-0 in the 16th minute. The Rebels had several more chances to score in the opening half, with nine total shots including a free kick from Bradley Kamdem that hit the post before bouncing out. UNLV would go into halftime with its 1-0 edge, having held the Roadrunners to just five shots.
Bakersfield came out pushing the attack in the second half while UNLV played a more defensive approach in an attempt to preserve the lead. The Roadrunners took six shots on goal, with several on goal, and would tie the score in the 71st minute following a scramble for the ball inside the box. Twice UNLV stopped shots from CSUB, but the second shot rebounded out to the left side to an unmarked Julian Zamora. The WAC's leading scorer, Zamora unleashed a curving blast to the far right post, past the reach of diving UNLV goalkeeper Ryan Harding and into the goal to make the score 1-1.
UNLV nearly went back ahead following a CSUB foul, and again it was off a free kick by Kamdem. This kick however hit the crossbar and bounced back into the field of play. The second half ended with some drama after a yellow card was called on Bakersfield after Musovski was pulled down on a breakaway. With the clock stopped at seven seconds to go Musovski took the free kick but his shot was wide, sending the game into overtime. In the first overtime period the Roadrunners pushed the attack and took a pair of shots but none were on goal. The game went to a second overtime and this time UNLV stepped up its attack and put the pressure on the CSUB defense. No goals were scored though, leading to the penalty kick shootout.
The Rebels went first in the shootout, and Kevin Partida converted his try while Edan Mendoza had his shot to the right saved by Harding. In the second round, Musovski sent a ball straight down the middle and Mario Iniguez scored for CSUB, leaving UNLV ahead 2-1. The third round saw both Kamdem and Joe Masumiya score, that kept UNLV ahead by a 3-2 score. In the fourth round, Sebastian Hernandez converted his try while Simon Doherty's shot to the left was saved by Harding, clinching the shootout for the Rebels.
CSUB finished the game with a 15-13 edge on shots, only the fourth time this season UNLV was outshot in a game. The Roadrunners also held a 5-4 edge on shots on goal and 5-1 on corner kicks. Harding posted four saves in goal for UNLV, while Nicolas Clever made three stops for CSUB. Anthony Perez was in goal for the Roadrunners during the shootout.
Joining Musovski on the all-tournament team was Harding, Partida, and defender Kyle Mellies.