BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - UAB junior defender Reed Mattescored his first career goal early in the first overtime to keep the Blazers unbeaten (4-0-2) in a dramatic, 2-1, victory over No. 20 VCU at West Campus Field. With the win, UAB will compete for the championship of the 2011 UAB "Soccer For A Cure" Classic on Sunday when it takes on Milwaukee.
"It was a great game between two very good teams," UAB head coach Mike Getmansaid. "VCU had a great game plan and possessed the ball well. But I thought we did a good job defending and we also created a number of good scoring chances. We had a great crowd and great support. When our guys were getting tired, our fans picked them up and certainly brought us a lot of energy when it mattered."
Matte scored the game winner just 5:22 into the first overtime. The goal came after the Birmingham, Ala. native beat a defender down the right side, cut the ball to the middle of the penalty area and drilled a shot from 16 yards out that beat the VCU goalkeeper on the near post, sending the Blazers into a wild celebration.
"This was a big win in a lot of ways for us," Getman said. "First of all, VCU is a terrific team and anytime you can beat a quality opponent, you have to be happy with that. This is certainly a good win on our NCAA resume, but more importantly I thought we played well throughout the game."
VCU (5-2) struck first in the 35th minute when a long direct kick by Juan Solano found a little bit of luck. The kick was taken from 45 yards out after a Blazer was whistled for a foul. Solano's shot caught the wind and kept drifting towards the goal. UAB goalkeeper Carl Woszczynskiwas back peddling and looked as if he was going to make the save, but the ball went through his hands and into the back of the net.
The Blazers would equalize at the 53:07 mark on a direct kick by defender Mladen Lemezfrom 22 yards out. Lemez's shot was hit low and hard toward the far post. VCU goalkeeper Josh Pantazelos was able to get a hand on it, but could not stop it from going into the back of the net to even the score at one apiece. The goal marked Lemez's first of the season and second of his career.
The Blazers out shot the Rams, 12-8, with both teams recording six shots on goal. Woszczynski finished with five saves on the night, while Pantazelos stopping four shots.
In the first game of the night, Gardner-Webb scored two goals over the final five minutes to defeat Milwaukee, 2-1.
The final day of the "Soccer For A Cure" Classic will be on Sunday at West Campus Field, with Gardner-Webb taking on VCU at noon, followed by a UAB and Milwaukee squaring off at 2:30 p.m.
Student who have a valid ID will be served free food and drinks 60 minutes prior to the Blazers and Panthers taking the pitch.