RICHMOND, Va. – Behind three early goals, the UAB men’s soccer team (1-0-0) stormed out to an early lead and never looked back in a 4-0 victory against No. 24 VCU (0-1-0) on Friday night at SportsBackers Stadium in Richmond, Va. It marked the second time in program history that the squad opened up the season with a win over a nationally-ranked team.
“We played really well against a very good team tonight,” head coach Mike Getman stated. “The whole team played well from start to finish. Everything clicked for us tonight.”
The Blazers came out firing, scoring three goals in the opening 30 minutes to give them an early advantage. Junior Diego Navarrete tallied the first goal of the year for the Green and Gold in the 18th minute. Freshman Lars Willemse collected an assist on the play.
Only 73 seconds later, Navarrete struck again, registering the second goal of the night for UAB. From the top of the box, Navarrete placed a shot into the upper right corner of the goal, giving the team a 2-0 lead. Redshirt senior Chase Wickham was credited with an assist, as well.
“Diego fought through injuries the past two seasons,” commented Getman. “He performed very well tonight. He looked like he was in mid-season form. No doubt, his performance was key.”
Freshman Rami Dajani became the second UAB rookie to tally a point on the night in the 30th minute. Dajani dribbled into the box, cut back, and drilled a ball into the lower left corner, pushing the Blazer advantage to 3-0. Redshirt sophomore Cole Iverson contributed an assist on Dajani’s tally.
The Green and Gold continued to be the aggressor into the second half. 10 minutes into the second stanza sophomore Freddy Ruiz collected a ball from captain redshirt junior Alex Clay and placed it in the top right corner to give the squad a 4-0 lead. That would be the final tally of the night for the team.
Senior goalkeeper Raphael Ville kept the Rams at bay, recording a clean sheet in the first match of the year. Ville was the first Blazer keeper to register a clean sheet in a season-debut since 2006.
“Overall, it was a great win,” concluded Getman. “It was a great performance by all of our guys."
The UAB men’s soccer team will be back in action on Sunday in Richmond when they take on High Point. The match is scheduled to begin at 4:30 ET.
Notes: Tonight’s four goals marked the most goals in a season-opening match for the Blazers since the 1995 opener … UAB exploded for nine goals in its first match of 1995 against Martin Methodist … The program is 2-1 in season-openers against nationally-ranked opponents … Ville recorded the first clean sheet by a Blazer goalkeeper in a season-opener since 2006 … Navarrete matched his career-best with two goals against the Rams.