BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – After inclement weather forced delays of more than three hours, the “Soccer For A Cure” Classic got underway at roughly 7:15 p.m. Friday night as the UAB men’s soccer team capped the night with a 4-1 win over undefeated Vermont at West Campus Field.
Game one of the tournament between Dayton and Jacksonville was slated to begin at 4:30, but due to lightning in the area and continuous severe weather nearby, play was halted up until just past 7 p.m. when the Flyers and Dolphins hit the field to open the 17th Annual “Soccer For A Cure” Classic.
“It is challenging for the players,” head coach Mike Getman said following UAB’s 4-1 win. “They were preparing for this game at about three this afternoon, so to still be focused eight hours later is difficult.”
After Dayton defeated Jacksonville, 3-0, UAB got started just past 9 p.m. and didn’t waste any time to generate some offense.
In the 10th minute Freddy Ruiz found open space and weaved his way past a couple Vermont defenders to give the Blazers an early 1-0 advantage. The Catamounts fought back quick, posting a goal in the 18th minute when Brian Wright found the net to even the match at 1-1.
“They did a great job,” Getman said. “They played a great game all the way through the 90 minutes. Getting up by a few goals gave us an opportunity to play some people to give them an opportunity to show what they do, but it wasn’t an opportunity to lay back or take our foot off. We made some substitutions, but we kept playing the way we want to play.”
Senior Alex Clay netted his third goal of the season in the 32nd minute, but it came via a penalty kick. After Vermont’s Luke Salmon was issued a red card near the goal, Clay lined up for a penalty kick opportunity and converted to push UAB back in front, 2-1.
The two teams went to half with a one-score deficit, but sophomore Aaron Getman-Pickering changed that just out of the break with the first goal of his career on a Freddy Ruiz and David Valverde assist. Ruiz went on to score another goal in the 62nd minute to seal the win and hand the Catamounts, a solid NCAA contender from last season, their first loss of 2014.
Friday night’s win was also a milestone win for Getman as he picked up win No. 250 in his UAB career. He is now eight wins away from reaching the 300-win plateau.
As a team the Blazers outshot Vermont 10-4. The Catamounts had just one shot on goal to UAB’s seven.
The Blazers will return to West Campus Field on Sunday to close out the “Soccer For A Cure” Classic at 2:30 p.m. against the Dayton Flyers.