UAB Upsets #1 SMU, 2-1.
“Anytime you beat the #1 team in the nation it is a pretty big win,” UAB head coach Mike Getman said. “We are the first team to beat them this year so that makes it a pretty big win.
“It wasn‚t until about 1:20 left in the game that I thought ‘Okay, we have a good chance at this,’ Getman said in reference to his feelings as the time wound down. “You put together a game plan and hope that the players execute it. I don’t know if a group of players could execute it any better.”
The Blazers pulled off the upset in front of what is believed to be a record crowd of 2,755 fans at West Campus field. The win improves UAB to 8-6-2 on the campaign and 3-3-1 in Conference USA, while SMU drops to 14-1-3 and 4-1-2 in league play.
“The crowd was terrific tonight,” Getman said. “They gave us a lot of energy and support and it was great to see the stands filled for this game. I know our players, especially the seniors, appreciated it.”
The Blazers wasted no time getting on the board. After missing several good scoring opportunities in the opening 10 minutes of the contest, UAB’s persistence paid off in 13th minute. Junior Joe Klosterman cleared a ball from the UAB penalty box that sailed over SMU’s back line and on to the foot of a streaking Kwapisz. The Oshawa, Ontario native then outraced the Mustang defenders and deposited a shot into the left netting to give his team an early one-goal lead.
However, the lead did not last long as SMU responded just under a minute later at the 13:36 mark. As senior midfielder Derick Radcliffe attempted to clear the ball from the UAB penalty box, the ball jumped off the wet turf and hit him in his hand, which resulted in a penalty kick. SMU’s Mynor Gonzalez converted the kick to even the score at one apiece.
The score would remain that way until Gregory’s heroics at the 60:35 mark. Sophomore midfielder Carlo Schiavoni took a free kick from midfield, which found the head of senior forward Jerson Monteiro. The Houston, Texas native then flicked it on to Gregory to tapped it over SMU goalkeeper Matt Wideman‚s head for the game-winner.
From there, UAB goalkeeper Jeremy Drake and the Blazer defense shut down the Mustang attack, which entering the contest had outscored their opponents by a count of 45-8. Drake made four saves in the victory, and allowed just the penalty kick goal.
SMU outshot UAB 15-9, and doubled the Blazers up on corner kicks, 8-4.
UAB will next be in action when it plays its regular season finale at Florida International on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. ET