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Men’s Soccer Shuts Out Villanova In Home Opener

By Vince Gasparini | September 4, 2023

The University at Albany men’s soccer team collected its first win of the season this past Sunday with a 2-0 win against the Villanova Wildcats, which improved their record to 1-1. UAlbany outshot Villanova 17-8, including 11-2 in the first half, and drew 13 corner kicks during the match. Villanova only managed two shots before halftime.

UAlbany’s Jeff Thielmann chases after the ball.

Photo Credit: Brent Warzocha

These two teams last faced each other in the 2021 season, where the Great Danes bested the Wildcats 1-0 at Villanova’s Higgins Soccer Complex.

The game was scoreless for the majority of the first half. UAlbany opened up scoring in the 33rd minute when Villanova’s Foday Bangura committed a handball in the box, rewarding the Great Danes a penalty kick. Jeff Thielmann took the kick for UAlbany and netted it, putting the Great Danes up 1-0. The first 45 minutes of the game finished with UAlbany having held 59% of possession.

The Great Danes drew another corner kick in the 51st minute. UAlbany’s junior forward Saad Faiz took the shot, but a diving save from Villanova goalkeeper Kent Dickey prevented UAlbany from scoring. UAlbany had an opportunity to score from the field off a shot by Thielmann, but the Wildcats blocked it in the middle of their box.

In the 80th minute, UAlbany’s Caleb Vallance netted a shot off of an assist by Thielmann for Vallance’s first career goal, putting UAlbany up 2-0. Villanova’s Balthi Saunders looked to respond with a shot from 25 yards out in the 82nd minute, but UAlbany goalkeeper Shafique Wilson made the save, keeping the shutout alive. The Great Danes held on for the win against the Wildcats.

“I thought we were excellent,” said UAlbany head coach Trevor Gorman. “I thought we imposed ourselves on the game, I thought we attacked, we created chances. We didn’t allow much going the other way and then we showed maturity to see it out in the second half.”

UAlbany’s next match is a home game against Niagara on Friday, September 1.


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