Rebels Hang On for 3-2 Victory at Home|
Sept. 16, 2016
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV women's soccer returned home Friday night to open an action-packed soccer weekend at Peter Johann Memorial Field. Hosting Cal State Bakersfield, the Rebels built a 3-0 lead on three stellar goals, then held off a furious rally by the Roadrunners in the final five minutes to pick up their sixth victory of the season.The game also kicked off alumni weekend for both the men's and women's programs, with alumni in attendance being recognized at halftime. The festivities continue tomorrow with a coed alumni game at 3 p.m. Following the alumni match will be the Guns N’ Hoses charity game, which pits the Las Vegas Fire Department and the Las Vegas Metro Police Department against each other and features a ceremonial first kick by Nevada State Senator Ruben Kihun and a halftime show featuring the K-9 squad. The day-long men’s alumni celebration concludes with a men’s match against Oregon State at 7 p.m. Saturday’s festivities will include bouncy houses, face painting, patrol cars and fire trucks, SWAT unit demonstrations, finger printing for the children, CPR demonstrations, special characters, arts & crafts, and free food and beverages, which will run from 3:30-8:30 p.m.
Junior Sophie Cortes broke a scoreless first half in the 34th minute after taking a pass from Isabella Myers on a free kick, fighting off her defender and firing the ball into the upper left corner from 20 yards out -- placing it exactly where the keeper had no chance of stopping it. Not only was it Cortes' first goal of the season, it was the first of her career as a Rebel, while Myers picked up her second assist of the season.
Senior Lily Sender continued her fantastic senior year, knocking in her fourth goal of the season in the 41st minute on a shot that almost mirrored Cortes' from the opposite side of the field as she found the upper right corner of the net from 22 yards out off of a feed from Courtney Anderson. Sender wasn't done yet, however, as she sparked the sequence on the Rebels third goal of the night. Pushing the ball up the right sideline, Sender cut the ball back and delivered the perfect pass to fellow senior Jordan Magnin at the top of the box, who made a nifty one-touch backwards pass to Susie Bernal. Bernal took a quick touch to her right and then blasted it past CSUB keeper Jen Padilla.
The Rebels were in full control of the game until the Roadrunners picked up steam in the attack, putting relentless pressure on the UNLV defense. A scrum inside the box on the Rebels end of the field led to a hand-ball penalty kick goal by Alexa Orrante in the 87th minute to get CSU Bakersfield on the board. Two minutes later, another frenzy in the box after a free kick for the 'runners led to their second goal, this time by Maja Green in the 89th minute. Despite the two quick goals, UNLV held on to secure the win.
Bernal's score proved to be the game-winner and she knew it was a huge one. "Being up 2-0 is one of the scariest leads in soccer," said Bernal. "After I scored, I felt a lot more calm and confident that would could get the win."
With the goals, Sender and Bernal each have four on the season, while Sender's fifth assist puts her in the team lead for total points (13). Junior Jessie Clark got her first start in goal this year, playing all 90 minutes and picking up three saves. Overall the Rebels outshot the Roadrunners 20-9.
Head coach Chris Shaw was pleased with the offensive output his team displayed after the attack had been subdued the last few games, but would have liked to see the team finish with more authority. "Any time we get a win it feels good," said Shaw. "I was a little disappointed in the last five minutes -- I thought we could have finished better and kept them out of the net, but ultimately any win is a good win."
The win came on a special night at the field as UNLV and Cal State Bakersfield sported gold laces in support of the "Lace Up 4 Pediatric Cancer" campaign put on by Go4theGoal, a New Jersey-based non profit organization dedicated to supporting children and families affected by pediatric cancer. In addition to raising funds at the game, the Rebels will continue supporting and raising awareness all season long through their online campaign page (https://donate.go4thegoal.
The Rebels (6-2-0) wrap up alumni weekend on Sun., Sept. 18 with a 1 p.m. matchup again Cal State Fullerton at home in their last non-conference game before league play beings next weekend.