Oct. 17, 2007
DALLAS, Texas ----- The UAB men's soccer team dropped a 2-1 decision to No. 6 SMU on Wednesday night at Wescott Field. The Blazers, playing a third consecutive game without junior MAC Hermann Trophy candidate Dejan Jakovic, took an early lead in the match, but could not hold off the Mustangs en route to the loss.
"I thought we started well and got a great goal, but then we lost our composure," UAB head coach Mike Getman said. "I don't know if it was nerves because we were playing on national television or what, but we couldn't do the simple things right. I thought we came back in the second half and played an even game. We created some scoring chances, but just couldn't finish those chances off."
The contest was covered by CSTV and is set to air to a national television audience on Friday night at 10:30 p.m. CT.
The Blazers (5-7-1, 0-4 C-USA) certainly got off to a great start, scoring their quickest goal of the 2007 campaign. Just 2:36 into the contest, UAB junior Derek Rios gave his team an early one-goal advantage. Sophomore Jonah Stewart beat his defender and placed a perfect cross right onto the foot of Rios, who then one-timed a shot into the lower left corner, past a diving Steve Sandbo and into the back of the net.
However, things began to unravel a short time later. SMU had numerous scoring opportunities over the next 20 minutes, and finally capitalized at the 23:28 mark when Scott Geppert evened things at a goal apiece. Geppert's goal came after a barrage of shots at the UAB net. The Mustangs' Bruno Guarda began the flurry with a shot from 18-yards out which goalkeeper Wes Johnson saved. The rebound went to the foot of SMU's Ben Shuleva whose shot was blocked, but Geppert was right there for the open-net goal.
The Mustangs (8-2-2, 3-0-1) added another goal with just over eight minutes left before intermission when Richard Oliva scored on a similar play to the Mustangs' first goal of the night. Scott Corbin hit a shot from 10 yards out which Johnson made a diving save, but the rebound went right to Oliva who tapped in the goal to give the Mustangs their first lead of the game.
SMU outshot UAB 11-3 in the opening 45 minutes, including a 7-2 shots on goal advantage.
UAB would settle down in the second half and were able to create a few scoring chances. Senior Joe Klosterman had UAB's best scoring opportunity with just over two minutes remaining in regulation. Rios flicked a header onto the feet of the St. Louis, Mo. native, who then took one dribble and ripped a shot which just missed the upper left corner.
Johnson played well in the net for the Blazers making a career-best 11 saves on the night. The Blazers' 2-1 loss marked the sixth time over the last seven contests a game has been decided by one goal, losing four of those matches. UAB now drops to 2-6 in one-game goals this season.
"We are just in a tough spell right now," Getman said. "We are missing some key players, including Dejan, and having to play a lot of young guys. It has been a struggle for us to score. Tonight we came out, scored a great goal right away, but then lost our composure. We need to start finding a way to win the close games."
The Blazers will remain on the road when they travel to Huntington, W.Va. to take on the Thundering Herd of Marshall on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. ET.