BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Junior forward Rami Dajani added to his already impressive weekend with his third goal in two games, earning tournament MVP honors to lead the UAB men’s soccer team to a 3-1 victory over Gardner-Webb Sunday afternoon at West Campus Field.
With the victory, the Blazers (3-3-0) claimed the “Soccer for a Cure” Classic tournament title for the 11th time overall and fifth time in the last six seasons. UIC (2-2-1) finished the two-day event in second, while Georgia State (2-3-0) and Gardner-Webb (1-4-0) rounded out the tournament field.
“The record is nice and it’s good to get back to .500, but what’s way more important is that we played well and won the match,” head coach Mike Getman said following the win. “That’s two in a row and I think the guys are starting to understand what we’re trying to do and score a bunch of goals.”
Dajani already had an offensive show from Friday night’s 3-1 victory over UIC, and kept the momentum going Sunday, scoring his third of the season. He, along with Karl Chester, Ian Svantesson and DeAndre Robinson, were named to the “Soccer for a Cure” Classic All-Tournament Team.
Senior forward Freddy Ruiz also got back on track, notching his first goal of the season in the 14th minute to put the Green and Gold up 1-0. His score came after DeAndre Robinson’s shot deflected off the post, and Ruiz snuck it past Gardner-Webb keeper Matthew Swan.
Sophomore Ryan Sullivan, a Clemson transfer, recorded his first goal as a Blazers in the 42nd minute, when Berry Sonnenschein found him for a score to make it 2-0. The Runnin’ Bulldogs answered right back within seconds off the foot of Frej Ramberg to make it a 2-1 score.
Dajani provided the sealer in the 50th minute via assists from Ruiz and Sonnenschein, securing the win and title to push the Blazers to 3-3 on the year.
“Our forwards have been good all season, but certainly this weekend I thought Friday night Karl Chester had a big time performance, scored a goal and had an assist and had a great game for 90 minutes,” Getman said. “Today, Rami was similar; had a fantastic game from start to finish and finished with three goals.”
UAB outshot Gardner-Webb 17-6 and put 10 shots on target, led by three from Ruiz. Joe Kuzminsky played well in goal, totaling two saves, and junior Hunter Weber also saw his first minutes of the season with a save in 14 minutes of play to close the match.
The Blazers return to West Campus Field as part of the four-game home stand Friday night to open up Conference USA play versus South Carolina. First kick is set for 7 p.m. against the Gamecocks.