Men’s soccer closing season on road
Rebels bring three-game win streak to Air Force
That is the goal differential in UNLV’s six road games this season. Why is that significant?
The Rebels (6-9-0 overall, 4-3 MW) finish out the regular season with three straight road games; two this weekend against Air Force on Friday (1-9-4, 1-1-4) and Grand Canyon (2-10-1, 1-5-0) Sunday.
The 5-13 scoring disadvantage is a product of the Rebels’ inability to trust one another away from home. The mental errors, errant passes and missing from point-blank range has led to the 0-6 record the Rebels have posted away from Peter Johann Memorial Field.
UNLV has momentum on its side, riding a three-game winning streak; the longest this year. With the regular season winding down, the Rebels sit third in the overall WAC standings.
Head coach Rich Ryerson said last week that winning this weekend’s pair of games is the most important thing right now. With the two victories, UNLV can be assured a top-two seed in the conference tournament.
Despite the Falcons’ less-than-impressive record, the two teams split their last six meetings. Freshman defender Blake Elder notched both Falcon goals in the team’s 1-1 draws of Seattle and SJSU last week to be named WAC Offensive Player of the Week.
UNLV junior defender Kyle Mellies is the reigning Defensive Player of the Week after anchoring the Rebels defense and not allowing a goal at any point he was on the field.
The Rebels then travel to Phoenix against Grand Canyon. This will be the first look UNLV gets at the Antelopes this season.
The ‘Lopes’ defense has not been a strong suit. Goalkeeper Joshua Zehring has allowed 25 goals this season and allows two goals per game.
The problem all season has been putting together a consistent effort for 90 minutes. Playing at home is easy; the crowd’s behind you, the calls go slightly in your favor and the pressure is virtually nonexistent. The Rebels are in unfamiliar territory as they have yet to play on the road off of a winning streak.
Coming off their two best performances of the season outscoring opponents 7-2, the Rebels have found that killer instinct. UNLV knows that it’s now or never, and a chance for a No. 1 seed in the conference tournament is within reach.