Falcons Sneak Past UNLV, 1-0
Oct. 3, 2008
Offensive opportunities were at a premium Friday night at Cadet Soccer Stadium, but Air Force junior Steven Noller took full advantage of his opportunity, scoring the game's only goal in the 57th minute to lead the Falcon men's soccer team to a 1-0 victory over UNLV. With the victory in the conference opener for both teams, Air Force improved to 3-6 overall and 1-0 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, while UNLV fell to 5-3-1 and 0-1 in the MPSF.
Noller scored a beautiful unassisted goal after dribbling through several UNLV defenders and rocketing a shot from 20 yards out that beat Rebel goalie Hawk Mummey and just curved in the right far post. In doing so, Noller became the first Air Force player to score a goal in four straight games since Ryan Schaeffer did the trick during the 1996 season.
Not only was it the only goal of the game, it was the first shot on goal by either team. Air Force freshman Zach Brinlee had a shot on goal later in the second half that Mummey easily saved, and Nicholas Paterson notched the Rebels' only shot on goal with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game. UNLV had its best opportunity with one minute left in the second half when Lamar Neagle had a direct free kick from just outside the goalie box, but he sent the shot just over the crossbar.
"We had an outstanding effort from our entire team tonight," said Air Force head coach Doug Hill. "We really concentrated on effort in practice this week and these guys made it pay off. I was very impressed with our defense, especially in the air, and Steve Noller played another great game for us."
The game could not have been closer statistically, as Air Force outshot UNLV 11-10 overall, had six corner kicks to four for UNLV and the foul count was five for Air Force, compared to four for the Rebels.
Mummey and Air Force goalie Jim Gullo each made one save. This was Gullo's second career shutout.
The Falcons are back in action on Sunday, Oct. 5 when they host New Mexico at 1 p.m.