LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Despite a strong effort, the FGCU men’s soccer team was unable to overcome an early deficit, falling 3-2 to UNLV in the final game of the UNLV Rebel Classic on Sunday afternoon. Freshman Westin Vallentine netted both goals for the Eagles.
The loss moves FGCU to 2-4-1 on the season and UNLV improves to 4-1-2 on the year.
“I’m proud of my team’s commitment and determination in the second half,” said head coach Bob Butehorn. “Unfortunately, we put ourselves in too deep of a hole in the first half. We will learn from this experience, re-group, and prepare for conference play.”
UNLV would record the first goal of the match in the ninth minute when Zach Kapfer headed the ball down and blasted a shot past FGCU keeper Matthew Smith (Cape Canaveral, Fla.).
In the 25th minute, the Rebels would get on the board again following a long pass from the backfield to Nick Marshall, who got a 1-on-1 breakaway with FGCU keeper Smith. The goal would send the game to 2-0 in favor of UNLV.
The Rebels would add to their lead when Nick Marshall netted his second goal of the match on an eight yard shot, in the 40th minute, from a long cross pass to the right side of the goal.
FGCU would answer soon after, when Freshman Vallentine (Spring, Texas) sent a header into the back of the net following a corner kick by Freshman Andres Navas (Miami, Fla.). This was the third goal on the season for Vallentine.
This would prove to be the final goal of the first half and the Eagles headed to intermission trailing 3-1.
FGCU would come out firing in the second half, outshooting UNLV 7-3 in the period.
Vallentine would record his fourth goal of the year when he put another shot in net for the Eagles in the 84th minute on an assist from Freshman Jelani Smith (Mississauga, Canada). With the goalie on the ground, Vallentine was able to put the ball in an empty net on a scramble inside the box.
With the game at 3-2, UNLV was able to sustain their first half lead and the game came to an end without either team finding the back of the net once more.
The Eagles fired 13 shots in the match, with five shots on goal, and two corner kicks. Smith earned two saves in the outing.
The Rebels took 10 shots in the game, with five shots on goal, and five corner kicks.
The FGCU men’s soccer team will be back on the field as they open conference play on Friday, October 2nd against North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start time.