Utah Valley University men’s soccer hosts No. 21 Denver University on Friday at 7:30 p.m. MT on Clyde Field. In a season of firsts for the new Wolverine program, the Pioneers will be the first ranked team UVU will face in its brief existence.
The Wolverines (2-2-0) evened their record behind two goals from freshman Matt Gay in a 2-0 win over Gonzaga last Friday night in front of 3,209 fans. Gay was named the WAC Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, another first for the UVU program. Both goals came in the second half with his first coming on an assist from Karson Payton.
Denver enters as No. 21 in the NSCAAtv poll and is ranked No. 1 in the NSCAA West Region poll. Of the 10 teams ranked in the West Region poll, six are on UVU’s schedule this season and four are in the WAC.
“Denver is a top-level program and their No. 21 national ranking proves that. No question, this is a benchmark match for our boys, and we’ll need to be very organized, disciplined and sharp throughout,” UVU head coach Greg Maas said.
The Pioneers (4-2-0) won at home twice last week — a 3-2 win vs Oakland and a 1-0 over New Hampshire. Three of the six games on Denver’s schedule have come against ranked teams, including a 2-1 win over No. 22 Navy. DU also defeated then-No. 24 Cal State Northridge, 2-1, and dropped a 2-1 match against No. 6 UC Irvine, a team UVU will face next weekend.
Through two home matches, UVU ranks near the top of the nation in total attendance and average attendance. With an average of 2,910 fans in games vs. UMass and Gonzaga, the Wolverines rank ninth in average attendance and 13th in overall attendance.
“Our 12th Wolverines have quickly established Clyde Field as one of the most electric atmospheres in college soccer,” Maas said. “We feed off of that energy, and our team can’t wait for another crazy night on Friday."
Among national statistical leaders, Gay is 12th and second in the WAC in points per game (2.00), and goalkeeper Collin Partee is 15th nationally and second in the WAC in save percentage (.905). As a team, UVU leads the conference and is 13th nationally in assists per game (2.25).
Next week UVU plays two neutral site contests in Las Vegas at UNLV. The Wolverines face UC Riverside on Friday, Sept. 26, before a contest against the sixth-ranked Anteaters on Sunday, Sept. 28.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.