BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UAB men’s soccer team opened the 2014 regular season with a 3-1 victory against Memphis on Friday night at West Campus Field. It marked the fourth straight season that UAB has won its season opener.
“This was a pretty big game,” head coach Mike Getman stated. “The first match either helps your confidence or hurts it. We also got a lot of guys some minutes, some players it was their first real college match. Three goals, a win, and a lot people playing; a pretty good day.”
1,307 people came out for the Blazers’ season opener on Friday night. It marked the 15th-largest crowd in West Campus Field history.
“Seeing all of our friends come in, banging on the drums, it’s just good fun,” redshirt senior midfielder Alex Clay said. “I love playing for my school. All of your friends are in the crowd and that definitely plays a factor in getting a win at home.”
Clay led the squad with a career-best four points on the match, recording one goal and two assists. Redshirt junior forward Karl Chester added three points on a goal and assist. Junior defender Ian Svantesson tallied the final goal of the night for the Green and Gold.
Feeling the energy of the crowd, UAB (1-0) came out with a bang. In the fourth minute, Clay pushed one past Memphis redshirt junior goalkeeper Cody Uzcategui to push the host club ahead 1-0. Chester was credited with an assist on the play.
In the 17th minute, Chester broke through for his first goal since the 2012 season. Clay fed a ball into the box, which was corralled by sophomore defender Lars Willemse. Willemse played the ball to Chester, who finished it to give the Blazers a 2-0 edge.
After eight minutes went by, UAB would tally its final goal of the night. Clay served another ball into the box. Freshman defender Mathieu Laurent back-heel flicked the ball to Svantesson, who placed it in the net.
Memphis (0-1) kept the Blazers on its toes for the entirety of the match. The Tigers recorded 24 shots, with seven coming on goal. The visitors were eventually able to break through in the 77th minute, but that was the only tally they would get.
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky recorded six saves in his second career start. Kuzminsky was one shy of career-high.
The UAB men’s soccer team is back in action on Sunday, Aug. 31 at Mercer. Game time is set for 6 p.m. CT in Macon, Ga.