BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The No. 29 UAB men’s soccer team scored a goal in each half and used stellar defense to defeat the 20th-ranked Washington Huskies, 2-0, in the final game of the 2012 UAB “Soccer For A Cure” Classic. With the win, the Blazers captured the tournament title, marking the ninth time in 15 years they have won the event.
“Our goal this weekend was to win our first championship of the year and we have accomplished that,” UAB head coach Mike Getman said. “Any time you are playing for any kind of championship, you want your players to step up and I thought that’s exactly what our team did. One of our advantages throughout this season is that we have a lot of guys who can contribute and today was a great example of that.
“As a center back, you don’t have a lot of stats to show, but there is no doubt Mladen was the MVP of this tournament,” Getman said. “His defensive play was outstanding and I think he controlled how the game was played. He won every head ball and didn’t allow either Washington or Fairleigh Dickinson to get in any kind of rhythm offensively.”
Despite playing a double overtime game in Friday night’s 2-2 draw vs. Fairleigh Dickinson and missing three starters Sunday afternoon to due several different factors, the Green and Gold came ready to play against their third top-20 opponent this season.
The Blazers got things going early when junior midfielder Chase Wickham connected on his first goal of the 2012 campaign. The tally was set up when junior Alex Clay switched the ball and found Wickham wide open on the right side of the pitch. Wickham then drilled a low shot, which deflected off a Washington defender and into the far side netting for a 1-0 UAB lead.
UAB continued to pressure Washington in the offensive third and the hard work paid off in the 80th minute with a goal by freshman Freddy Ruiz to seal the contest. Junior midfielder Atak Yie set up the game-clinching tally when he sent a through ball to Ruiz, who beat the offsides trap. Ruiz then ripped a shot into the far post to record the first goal of his career and give the Blazers and insurmountable two-goal advantage.
Any chance of a comeback was ended when Washington’s Taylor Peay was given his second yellow card at the 80:10 mark, forcing the Huskiesto play a man short for the remaining 10 minutes.
UAB outshot Washington, 15-11, for the contest.
Goalkeeper Raphael Ville made four saves to secure his second cleansheet of the 2012 season.
In the early game on Sunday, Memphis toppled Fairleigh Dickinson, 1-0. The Huskies ended the tournament in second place, followed by Memphis and Fairleigh Dickinson.
The event raised several hundred dollars for families in the local area who have been affected by cancer.
The Blazers will next be in action on Saturday when they host the Lipcomb Bison in the final non-conference match of the 2012 campaign. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at West Campus Field.