DALLAS – Freshman defender Darion Copeland recorded his first career goal and senior goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski earned his fifth clean sheet of the season, as the No. 25 UAB men's soccer team stunned No. 15 SMU, 1-0, here Wednesday night.
With the win, the Blazers improve to 11-3-2 on the campaign. More importantly, the Green and Gold improve to 5-1 in Conference USA play and move into a tie for first place overall with idle South Carolina.
"I thought we played very well in the first half and controlled how the game was played and got the goal," UAB head coach Mike Getman said. "In the second half, they controlled the tempo but we were very dangerous on the counter attack. To earn a win and a shutout on the road against a top 15 team is pretty special."
The win on Wednesday night was the Blazers' sixth straight victory, five of which have come against C-USA competition. Furthermore, UAB, which entered the contest ranked No. 14 in the NCAA RPI, recorded its fourth shutout during its winning streak, outscoring the competition 11-4 over the six-game stretch.
The Mustangs entered the contest with an RPI at No. 13, but had their three-game winning streak snapped with the defeat, falling to 9-5-1 overall and 3-2-1 in conference action. It was just the second loss for SMU over its last 10 games (7-2-1).
The only goal of the contest came in the 39th minute of play when Copeland converted a header from six-yards out. The Stockbridge, Ga. native was able to get his head on a loose ball in the box after a UAB corner kick, and knocked it off the near post, just out of the reach of goalkeeper Jaime Ibarra.
Both teams had several scoring opportunities late in the contest. In the 78th minute, UAB defender Mladen Lemez snapped a header off a free kick that looked destined to find the back of the net, but Ibarra made a tip save and pushed the ball over the crossbar at the last second to keep the Blazer lead at one goal.
Just over two minutes later, at the 79:54 mark, SMU had its best scoring opportunity of the contest when forward Arturo Ivo, who was selected as the league's preseason player of the year, struck a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box. The ball rose over the wall and dipped towards the net, but struck the crossbar and was cleared away by the Blazer defense.
Woszcynski played splendid in the goal for UAB, making six saves on the night en route to his 16th career clean sheet, which moved him into second on the school's all-time shutout list. Ibarra also had six stops in the losing effort.
The Mustangs outshot the Blazers, 24-18, on the night, but UAB was more efficient with eight shots on goal compared to six for SMU. The Blazers had 10-6 edge in corner kicks, while both teams were whistled for 11 fouls.
The Blazers will next play on Saturday night at 7 p.m. against FIU. The contest will mark the final home regular season match for UAB as six men's soccer seniors (Babayele Sodade, Josh Stewart, Tucker Stone, Ken Tabata, Chris Williams and Carl Woszczynski) will play their final match at West Campus Field.