Mavs win conference opener 2-1

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September 29th, 2013

Omaha, NE – The returning Summit League champions made the trip to Omaha from Macomb, Ill. to take on the University of Nebraska at Omaha men’s soccer team Saturday.

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The Leathernecks started off as the aggressors in the game, gaining the lead 1-0 on a Drew Edmond recovery off a Matt Grosey deflection in the 25th minute. Five minutes before halftime, freshman forward Mark Moulton scored his first goal of his career to give the Mavs the equalizer, 1-1.

On the play, Moulton a freshman was assisted by both Conor Corboy and Lalo Gamboa – also freshman. This play exemplifies UNO’s current conundrum: having so many freshman readily available. The added experience will benefit them, but finding places for everyone who is ready to play could be a problem. Head Coach Jason Mims said he sees this as only positive.

Xavier Gomez (23) just misses above the crossbar late int eh second half. (Photo courtesy KVNO News)

Xavier Gomez (23) just misses above the crossbar late int eh second half. (Photo courtesy KVNO News)

“If you noticed at the end we had six or seven freshman on the field at one time today,” Mims said. I think that is fantastic for the future. They bring energy, they bring a great attitude and they haven’t back down. I think it is positive for the team’s future.”

In the second half UNO took control of the game. They created and found more openings than Western Illinois, this point was exhibited in the 74th minute.

Sophomore midfielder Chava Garcia passed to fellow midfielder Joe Marinkovich whose shot was redirected in the face of junior midfielder Vance Rookwood. Rookwood didn’t hesitate, turning and shooting the go ahead goal putting UNO up 2-1. The goal was his second game winner of the season.

“Oh it means a lot,” Rookwood said. “It was our first conference game at home and it feels good to get a win that goal was just icing on the cake.”

UNO didn’t let up there pressing and almost knocking in two more goals. However the game ended 2-1 and Mims called the win important for his teams psyche.

Jesus Perez (8) passes to teammate Lalo Gamboa (13) for UNO in Saturday's 2-1 win over Western Illinois. (Photo Courtesy KVNO News)

Jesus Perez (8) passes to teammate Lalo Gamboa (13) for UNO in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Western Illinois. (Photo Courtesy KVNO News)

“We’ve known all along we were a good team, we are playing good soccer. We’ve only had one game were we weren’t good against (Cal-State) Fullerton and that is when our legs caught up to us. Even though we’ve lost games our team is good and we are playing well so the mood has been positive still. Today was no different, we kind of had a slow start but we played hard and we played well and we got a result today. So it hasn’t been much different from the other games but we got a result and won.”

Up next UNO (2-5-1, 1-0-0) takes on the University of Milwaukee who is currently undefeated at 7-0-1 and one of the top 25 teams in the country. The Panthers bring in a team that averages 2.25 goals a game led by English native Laurie Bell who has five goals and has 18 shots on goal.

The game is set for 4pm Wednesday at UNO Soccer field on 68th and Spring Street in Omaha.

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