BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – UAB senior forward Babayele Sodade scored a sensational goal in the 65th minute as the men’s soccer team stunned No. 6 UCF, 1-0, on Saturday night at West Campus Field. With the victory, the Blazers improve to 8-3-2 on the season and 2-1 in Conference USA play, while the Knights drop to 8-2-2 on the year and 2-1-2 in league play.
It was the highest-ranked team UAB has defeated since topping then-No. 1 SMU, 2-1, on Oct. 25, 2006. That contest was also played at West Campus Field.
The Knights entered the contest ranked fourth in the nation in total goals scored (25) and goals scored per game (2.5), but UAB handed UCF its second shutout of the season.
“It was a great performance against an exceptionally talented opponent,” UAB head coach Mike Getman said. “They score tons of goals and I thought our defense was outstanding tonight. I thought we did a good job possessing the ball in the midfield. We were able to create some dangerous chances and Babayele found a way to score. Big-time players step up in big-time games, and I thought he did that tonight.”
Sodade’s goal came at the 65:59 mark when he took on a defender, poked the ball between his legs and then ripped a shot from a near impossible angle. The ball went through UCF goalkeeper Shawn Doyle’s legs and into the back of the net for the only tally of the game. It was his team-leading eighth goal of the season and fourth game-winning marker.
“It’s a huge win for us,” Sodade said. “UCF is number six in the nation so for us to come away with a victory speaks volumes about our team. When I got the ball I looked up to see who I could play it to. But they had everyone well marked, so I just tried to take it on, got one lucky move and shot it as hard as I could. I was overwhelmed by joy when it went in the net.”
The Blazers defense frustrated the Knights attack throughout the night, holding sophomore forward McKauly Tulloch, who came into the game as the leading scorer in the nation, to only two shots.
UAB goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski recorded his second shutout in as many games, making three saves on the night, including a pair of dazzling stops in the opening 45 minutes.
UAB was held to four shots, none of which were on goal, through the opening 45 minutes. However, the Blazers outshot the Knights, 5-2, in the second half, with four of those shots coming on frame.
The Blazers next game will be a historic contest as they will take on the Memphis Tigers at Regions Park on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The match between the Blazers and Tigers, which will act as a dry run for the 2011 College Cup, will mark the first-ever soccer match at Regions Park.