Men’s soccer continues home cookin’
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 08:10
Chava Garcia and Devin Diego each recorded a goal and UNO remained unbeaten at home, defeating IUPUI 2-0 Saturday afternoon at the UNO Soccer Field. Two games into the Mavs’ first full Summit League schedule, UNO is 1-0-1 in conference play and 3-4-1 overall.
Though they were expected to finish dead last in the league, the Mavs are currently second in the standings and may be starting to open some eyes.
“The energy level was high, the sprinting was high volume,” Head Coach Jason Mims said. “It was good to see our guys compete. Our guys played really, really hard and they ran and they ran and they ran.”
From start to finish the field was tilted in favor of UNO. The Mavs finished with double the amount of shots (16-8), created more corner kicks (11-2) and put two past a goalkeeper that led the nation in saves.
The few chances the Jaguars had were answered by UNO keeper Matt Grosey. Grosey finished with four saves and picked up his second shutout of the season.
Garcia started the scoring in the 20th minute, winning a ball on the right side of the Jaguar box and sending a shot low past goalie Eduardo Cortes. Freshman Giovanni Giattino lofted the ball over IUPUI’s back line and Garcia won the ball from the taller Michael Sass.
Diego’s goal to make it 2-0 came less than a minute after the Jaguars almost equalized on a corner kick. After throwing the ball in to Giattino, sophomore Jordan Gealy received the ball back near the far corner and crossed the ball high to the far post.
Diego rushed in unmarked and headed it perfectly over the outstretched hand of Cortes. The Jaguars’ Kyle Hyland had a chance to cut the Maverick lead in half with a penalty kick in the 84th minute. But Grosey was up to the task, diving to his left and saving Hyland’s low shot near the right post.
Though UNO opened last season with a win at UMKC, Saturday afternoon marked the Mavs’ first conference win as a full member of the league.
“We didn’t really talk about it,” Mims said about putting more focus on conference games. “The guys knew it but more importantly it was a home game. I think our guys know how our first road game was – [you] don’t get a lot of calls, you have to travel, you’re away from your own home.”
But with all that working against them, UNO earned a tie at Western Illinois, the preseason conference favorite. Returning home against IUPUI, Mims said it was important to keep the winning streak going.
In three home matches, the Mavs have scored nine goals while surrendering just two.
“We haven’t lost a game at home this year,” Mims said. “I think it was important, [to say] you know what, why don’t we have a year where we don’t lose one game at home, protect your home and come out the aggressor, come out on top, come out running around, flying around. That was a big point of emphasis that hey, this is a chance for people who are gonna come out and haven’t seen us since last year, they’re gonna come out [and] we gotta make an impression on this people so they actually come back. We’re trying to build a fan base here we’re a brand new program.”
Prior to the match against IUPUI, UNO benefited from having their first full week of practice since fall camp. Since the beginning of the season, the Mavs had been playing Wednesday/Saturday games or Friday/Sunday games.
Multiple games in a short amount of time forces Mims to give his players recovery time before working on much in practice. Last week that wasn’t the case.
“It was great to rest some guys this week and have a couple days off and then we were actually able to do some fitness in the middle of the week because we were rested,” Mims said. “We actually had a hard week. It was great it was like preseason.”
A full week also allowed Mims and the coaching staff to prepare for the Jaguars’ set pieces. While reviewing film, Mims said he watched IUPUI take 27 long throw ins in one half, and noted that many of their goals come off set pieces.
A lot of that has to do with the Jaguars’ size. IUPUI has seven players taller than 6-feet and one that is 6-foot-7.
In practices leading up to Saturday, the Mavs enlisted the help of junior Mike Rostampour, a 6-foot-8 forward on UNO’s basketball team. Rostampour played the role of Jaguars defenseman Michael Sass.
“We wanted to limit their chances on long throw ins,” Mims said. “Which we did, we kept the ball in bounds a lot which is great but the chances they actually had to throw in we did a very good job, we were well prepared for it.”
This week the Mavs return to a more normal schedule, traveling to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Tuesday then coming back to Omaha to face Eastern Illinois on Saturday. SIUE had been ranked no. 23 until falling 1-0 to Illinois-Chicago last Wednesday.