Men’s soccer team gains first conference win
Published: Sunday, September 26, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
The No. 9 SMU men's soccer team opened up conference play with a bang as the Mustangs defeated the UAB Blazers 3-2 in Birmingham Friday night.
"There's nothing better than getting your first conference win against a good team on the road," head Coach Tim McClements said. "We've had a good run in non-conference play, but that doesn't have any bearing on the conference, which is the most important part."
Forward Juan Castillo scored his team's leading seventh goal of the season in the 25th minute to give SMU an early 1-0 lead. Castillo fired from 18 yards out for the score and buried the ball in the back of the net.
The Mustangs struck again later in the first half when midfielder Arthur Ivo picked up his third goal of the season in the 43rd minute.
Midfielder Payton Hickey fed the ball to Ivo, who took a well-timed shot from just outside the 18 yard box to give the Mustangs a two-goal lead heading into halftime.
SMU continued their offensive fire power in the second half and took a commanding 3-0 lead in the 53rd minute. Castillo again pressured the Blazer defense and provided an assist to midfielder Josue Soto, who scored his second goal of the season from the right side of the box.
The Mustangs played solid defense and controlled the ball well until very late in the game when UAB began a furious comeback.
A handball by SMU inside the box allowed Blazer forward Anthony King to attempt a penalty kick. King converted in the 82nd minute to finally put UAB on the board.
Less than five minutes later, Blazer defender Flo Liu crossed the ball into the box, and forward Gentry Smith headed in a goal from about six yards out to close the gap and make the score 3-2.
The rally was too little too late as the Mustangs held on for the victory and withstood the late-game UAB rally.
"They're a very difficult team to play against," McClements said.
"They've got great size. From a physical standpoint, it was a very demanding match. I felt like we had good flow and were able to possess the ball and control well. When we gave up the handball in the box, it gave them a little bit of momentum. They played really direct and then scored again on a header. It got close at the end, but I credit our guys for fighting back and earning the win."
SMU moved to 8-0-0 overall with the win and 1-0-0 in Conference USA play.
The Mustangs will travel to Orlando to face Conference USA foe Central Florida on Saturday at 6 p.m.