HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The No. 17 UAB men’s soccer team completed regular season play on Friday night with a 2-1 victory at Marshall. Redshirt junior midfielder Alex Clay scored both goals for UAB on the road.
“A really big win for us,” head coach Mike Getman stated. “I thought the guys played well for most of the match; scored two nice goals then worked really hard down the stretch to make sure we got the victory.”
For the eighth time in 2013, the UAB men’s soccer team (12-4-1, 5-3-1) recorded a goal in the opening 20 minutes of the match, jumping out to an early lead. Sophomore forward Freddy Ruiz stole the ball away from the Thundering Herd backline in the sixth minute. Ruiz played the ball to Clay, who slotted the stolen ball into the lower left corner, giving the visiting-Blazers a 1-0 advantage.
Out of the halftime break, UAB pushed its lead to 2-0. In the 61st minute, Clay struck again, recording his second goal of the night. Freshman defender Lars Willemse played a cross into the Marshall box, finding redshirt sophomore forward Karl Chester. Chester passed the ball to Clay, who split two defenders, then buried the ball into the back of the Thundering Herd net.
“Alex has been terrific all season long,” commented Getman. “Tonight, he got both goals, but he also played well, moved the ball, and helped set up our attack the whole night."
Marshall (2-11-6, 0-6-3) would not give up on its Senior Night, though. The Thundering Herd trimmed UAB’s lead to 2-1 in the 83rd minute. Junior midfielder Jahvon Allison scored his team-best third goal of the year to put the host team one goal back late. That would be all of the scoring on the night, and the Blazers would go on to win its 12th match of the year.
Senior goalkeeper Raphael Ville and the UAB backline came up big on the road with terrific play for the majority of the match, only surrendering a goal in the final 10 minutes. Ville registered seven saves on the night, matching his season-high.
“I thought Raphael was fantastic,” added Getman. “He made a lot of big saves. Marshall had nothing to lose. They were playing hard all night. They threw a lot of bodies forward. At the end, it was kind of a scramble, but I thought defensively we were quite good.”
UAB will be back in action on Wednesday, Nov. 13 in the Conference USA Tournament. With its victory at Marshall, the Blazers are guaranteed the fourth seed. UAB would earn the third seed if Old Dominion defeats South Carolina on Saturday.
Notes: Redshirt junior midfielder Alex Clay matched a career-best with two goals at Marshall. Clay now has eight goals in 2013, which ranks second on the squad … Sophomore forward Freddy Ruiz recorded his fourth assist of the season and now has a team-high 26 points … For the 14th time in 2013, UAB recorded at least two goals. The Blazers are 11-3-0 when scoring at least two goals.