Matt Gay’s 49th-minute goal held as the game-winner as Utah Valley University defeated UC Riverside, 1-0, at the UNLV Rebel Classic on Friday. The victory for the Wolverines (4-2-0) is their third in a row and the program’s first win away from Clyde Field.
It was also freshman goalkeeper Derek Wilcox’s first career start and second appearance on the season. Wilcox led the Wolverine defense to their second shutout in the last three matches.
"Derek was fantastic. I liked how he managed things and settled the game down for us and his distribution was very good," UVU head coach Greg Maas said. "This was a gritty, gritty performance. After we scored we relaxed a little bit. We allowed them back into the game. But our back four and holding midfielders really dug in hard and won tackles, cleaned up balls in the middle and really did a fantastic job to keep it as a clean sheet for us."
Alex Neff started the scoring opportunity for the Wolverines, intercepting the ball at midfield and finding Karson Payton. Payton beat two defenders and left an early ball for Gay, who beat his defender to the ball and slipped it past the Riverside keeper just inside the post. The assist was Payton’s second of the season.
Wilcox finished with two saves in the contest with UVU outshooting the Highlanders (1-5-1), 15-8 and 7-2 on goal. The Wolverines have Saturday off before facing No. 4 UC Irvine on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. PT.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.