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- Women’s Softball drops 5-0 game to ‘Bama (Photos)
- Foot Soldier of the Children’s March
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- Regionals Science Olympiad (Photos)
- The Monuments Men
- UAB Builds New Residential Hall
- Classes, operations delayed Thursday until 11 a.m.
- Bedsider UAB Promotes Safe Sex
UAB Men’s Soccer Demolishes Mercer 4-0 (Photos)
The Blazers are back.
After a tragic loss to East Tennessee State last weekend, the No. 20 UAB men’s soccer team beat Mercer Saturday night 4-0.
Prior to last weekend’s “Soccer for a Cure” Classic, UAB (4-1-1) was tied with Dayton for the highest scoring offense in the country. Saturday’s game suggested the Blazers could regain that title.
“The first weekend of the year we had nine goals in two games, and everybody said, ‘Oh, they’re the highest scoring team in the country.’ Last weekend we didn’t score any goals, but against two very good defensive teams, and everybody said, ‘What’s going on?’ ” said Head Coach Mike Getman. “The truth lies somewhere in the middle. You know, today the ball went into the net for us. Last week it didn’t, and that’s just soccer sometimes.”
The first 45 minutes of the game were largely uneventful, and it looked like the Blazers would close another goalless half. UAB hadn’t scored in the past two games, and the crowd was clearly anxious that the drought would continue.
But with less than three minutes before halftime, UAB’s first goal of the night would come with a hint of irony.
At the 42:06 minute-mark, the ball deflected off a Mercer player, and the Blazers were credited with an own-goal.
“It was a great ball played across . . . I thought Atak had actually gotten a touch on it, but I guess he did not,” Getman said. “Sometimes it happens. So, I’m sure they were disappointed with it. I thought it came from good play from us.”
“(An own-goal)’s just horrible if you’re the one to cause it. If you’re not, there’s really nothing you can say or do. It’s just unlucky,” said sophomore defender Ian Svantesson.
With the memory of losing to East Tennessee with an own-goal fresh in their minds, the goal seemed to give the Blazers the momentum and confidence they needed to start scoring again.
Only a few minutes into the second half, Svantesson, assisted by Patrick Huang, scored his first goal of the season.
“It feels good,” Svantesson said about scoring. “Hopefully, more to come.”
Mercer instantly tried to recover, but UAB’s senior goalkeeper Raphael Ville frustrated their attempts to score.
At the 59:59 minute-mark, sophomore forward Freddy Ruiz scored his fourth goal of the season.
Most of the game, the Blazers controlled the ball, leading Mercer in shots 14 to nine. The Blazers’ defense was key in Saturday’s shutout.
“We’re really working on (defense),” Svantesson said. “Everyone’s got some experience back there, so it’s just everyone trusts each other and we’re really organized. We’re always where we need to be.”
In the past three games, UAB has only given up one goal, which was an own-goal.
Getman said he is is more concerned with how his team plays than how many goals they score, so he was proud of the shutout. “I thought today was overall a really good performance,” he said.
In the last 20 minutes and down by three, Mercer tried to rally, but with five saves in the second half, the Blazers wouldn’t give up a goal.
At one point, it looked like Mercer would score, but senior defender Chase Wickham kicked the ball out of the box.
“Obviously, (the shutout)’s a success for tonight, and we didn’t give up too many chances either,” Svantesson said.
With less than five minutes left in the game, junior defender Ian Michalak scored the final goal.
“Anytime you don’t win, you start to wonder, ‘Are we OK?’ You maybe lose a little bit of confidence, but this is a very good team,” Getman said. “We’ve played really well all season. We’ve worked really hard all season. We’ve given up very few chances to other teams.”
It was an exciting game for Blazer fans, with the Green Army boisterously cheering on the team.
“With the weather we had, we weren’t sure how many people would come out, but it ended up being a fantastic crowd and a loud crowd,” Getman said. “Having that big crowd behind you, having the student section that’s really into the game, it does add energy to our team . . . Every time they’re there and screaming, we’ve won. So hopefully, they’ll keep coming back.”
The Blazers return to West Campus field Wednesday night at 7:00 to play Belmont. Come support the men’s soccer team in their last September home game!