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UNLV now in a tie for second in WAC standings

The term “Placebo Effect” is real.

After a dominating performance over arguably two of the best teams in the Western Athletic Conference on Oct. 25 and Oct. 27, the Rebels (7-9-1 overall, 5-3-1 WAC) did what they’ve been unable to do all season long: win on the road.

Michael Jordan’s “Secret Stuff” was never needed; the Rebels just had to find the will to win.

Despite a subpar performance Friday against Air Force in which it played to a draw (0-0, 2OT), UNLV was masterful in beating Grand Canyon 3-1 on Sunday.

It was their first win in an unsettling stretch of road games this season, and could not have come at a more crucial time.

UNLV took on the Falcons (2-9-5, 2-1-5) in a game where, on paper, seemed like the Rebels should dominate. There’s a reason why games aren’t played on paper. UNLV was the more aggressive team, picking their spots on offense and smothering the Falcons on defense, but familiarity snuck in for the Rebels and they were unable to finish around the net.

Despite an advantage in shots on goal (9-5), all nine of their attempts came in the first half.

In fact, the Rebels only attempted seven more shots total in the second half and two overtimes, combined.

Defense is where UNLV was superior, holding the Falcons to minimal scoring tries throughout the contest.

Despite being held scoreless for the third time this season, the Rebels posted a shutout for the fourth time this year, the most by a UNLV soccer team since 2004.

Despite not playing their best, coach Rich Ryerson acknowledged that getting the practice needed for playing in altitude and cold weather was a necessity seeing as how the team will be back in Colorado Springs in two weeks for the WAC tournament.

The second game featured the Rebels taking on Grand Canyon (2-12-1, 1-7-0) with second place on the line in the WAC standings.

The game was tightly contested in the early going, with Grand Canyon holding an edge on shots.

Carlos Lara broke the game open for the Rebels in the 34th minute as he found the back of the net to give UNLV the 1-0 lead going into halftime.

After an Antelope goal in the 47th minute, the Rebels took control of the game for good with goals in the 65th and 77th minute by Andy Rodriguez and Irvin Somera.

It was the Rebels’ most efficient match of the season in that they split shots with Grand Canyon at 12 apiece, and were held to only four shots on goal, converting three of them.

With the win, UNLV jumped into a tie with CSU-Bakersfield for second place, with only one game remaining on their schedule. If the Rebels pull off the victory next weekend, on the road, it will secure a No. 2 seed in the WAC tournament and a first-round bye.

The opponent UNLV must overcome to get that second seed? CSU-Bakersfield, this Saturday.

 

WAC Standings

Seattle: 6-0-3
Bakersfield: 5-3-1
UNLV: 5-3-1
Air Force: 2-1-5
Houston Baptist: 3-4-2
Kansas City: 3-5-1
San Jose State: 3-5-1
Grand Canyon: 1-6

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