The University of Michigan-Dearborn men’s soccer team played their home opener on Wednesday night at Gabriel Richard High School against the Comets of Olivet College.
After dropping the season opener last week against Georgetown College, the Wolverines came out determined against the Comets. They kept the ball near Olivet’s end early on but could not find the back of the net. Freshman Christian Cuevas nearly scored on multiple occasions. The teams went back and forth throughout the middle of the first half and UM-Dearborn was able to regain control in the latter part of the half. They got many quality looks at the net but were still unable to score and the teams remained tied at zero entering halftime. The Maize and Blue outshot Olivet 12-3 in the half.
The Wolverines came out even stronger in the second half and a goal was inevitable. After Cuveas had another quality shot, he was finally able to score off of a rebound in the 47th minute to break the tie. The goal was the first of Cuevas’ career.
The momentum then shifted in favor of the Comets. Olivet freshman Noah Runnals hit a beautiful chip shot that went just over Wolverine goalkeeper Stephen Mezuk to even up the score in the 58th minute. To make things worse for UM-Dearborn, freshman Brendan Petz picked up a red card after arguing a questionable call and the Wolverines went a man down.
UM-Dearborn maintained their composure and was able to regain control of the game. In the 64th minute, junior Kevin Gondoly threw a beautiful ball into the box in which sophomore Jack Barnett almost headed into the goal. Luckily, sophomore Obaidah Shaherli was there to put the rebound into the net and give the Wolverines the lead.
UM-Dearborn was able to hold on and earn their first victory of the year 2-1. The win is also the first for new head coach Worteh Sampson.
UM-Dearborn’s offense has performed exceptionally well during the team’s two opening games. After scoring four goals in the opener, the Wolverines dominated possession the entire game and consistently applied pressure on Olivet’s defense. Although they only scored twice, UM-Dearborn outshot the Comets 26-5 and easily could have scored more.
Cuevas showcased his incredible speed and led the team with one goal on seven shots. Barnett also played a great game, finishing with three shots, nearly converting on all of them. Mezuk earned the victory in net after taking over for freshman Brian Ostapenko at the start of the second half.
The early season win improves the Wolverines’ record to 1-1. They will next play Huntington University on September 7th at 3 pm at Gabriel Richard High School in Riverview, Michigan.