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Men’s Soccer | Wolverines in a Must-Win Situation

UVU Athletics

The men’s soccer season in the Western Athletic Conference has been quite interesting. Who thought that UVU would be fighting for its life with four matches left? Did anyone see Air Force sitting at 9-1-3 overall and 3-0-2 in the WAC? Going out on a limb, but pretty sure not many people saw this coming.

Now, UVU is in a must-win situation as they host Houston Baptist on Thursday night at Clyde Field. The Wolverines are 4-8-2 overall and 1-3-2 in WAC play. UVU has five points and is a point behind UMKC and Houston Baptist for that final spot in the WAC Tournament. If UVU wins on Thursday night, it gives them eight points with three matches to play. And the final three matches are going to be the most difficult of the season. Here are the final three matches of the season: at UNLV, at Grand Canyon and then hosting Seattle. It is a gauntlet and not very favorable to a UVU team that has struggled in 2017. 

So, back to Thursday night and that must-win situation.

Houston Baptist comes in at 5-6 overall and 2-4 in WAC play. The Huskies are coming off a 1-0 loss to San Jose State. However, HBU has wins over Incarnate Word and CSU Bakersfield; UVU lost to both of those schools. Following the match against UVU, the Huskies travel to the Pacific Northwest to face Seattle on Sunday afternoon. HBU finishes with home matches against UTRGV and UIW. UTRGV is 5-5-2 overall and 2-3-1 in WAC play while UIW is 3-9-1 overall and 1-5 in WAC play. Obviously, the Huskies have a more favorable finish to the regular season. 

That’s what makes Thursday night’s match that much bigger. 

With the difficult finish to the regular season, UVU has to win matches it is expected to win. Coming off a 2-1 win over UMKC and a 1-1 draw against 12th-ranked Air Force last weekend, there is some confidence in the UVU locker room. A win over Houston Baptist on Thursday night, puts UVU in the drivers seat to make the WAC Tournament. The Wolverines will control their own destiny. Plus, UMKC doesn’t have a cupcake schedule to finish the season, either.

The ‘Roos host Grand Canyon and UNLV this weekend. UMKC travels to CSU Bakersfield and San Jose State the weekend following and finishes with Air Force at home. 

If UVU wins on Thursday night, they will have eight points, two more than UMKC and HBU, and will hold the tiebreaker over both schools. For as bad as 2017 has been for the Wolverines, the season isn’t over, yet.

Paul Hoffmeister is finally healthy and helping UVU make a run at the WAC Tournament. Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics.

Following the HBU match, UVU gets a week off before heading to Las Vegas. It is a time to train, get healthy and get in sync for the most difficult part of the schedule. But, it is advantage UVU, who hasn’t been fully healthy all season. Preseason All-American Paul Hoffmeister has been battling injuries all season. However, the senior from Germany scored two goals and assisted on another against UMKC and Air Force. Hoffmeister has four goals on the season and is tied with Gui Leme for the team-lead in points at 8. 

There is still a lot of soccer left and for all intents and purposes, UVU controls its own destiny. 

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. MT at Clyde Field and can be seen on WAC Digital Network. 

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