UNLV and Weber State both went into the game seeking a win after having lost its last game with UNLV’s 1-0 loss to Idaho and Weber State’s 3-1 loss to Washington State. The Rebels were playing on enemy soil but were unfazed as it managed to win 2-0.
Trinity Buchanon put on a stellar performance proving, once again why she was the 2022-2023 Gatorade Player of the Year with an early goal, along with creating chances, making dangerous runs, taking great shots and putting on some great dribbles that kept Weber State on high alert at all times.
Buchanon’s teammate, Haley Halbersma, gave a fabulous assist to Buchanon. Halbersma put in a solid defensive shift stopping the frequent counter-attacking Weber State and taking high-reward risky plays that led to great opportunities for the Rebels.
UNLV captain Jules Dominguez was a strong presence in UNLV’s defensive and offensive roles with great tackles, clearances, and physical plays. Dominguez also made great passes to start counterattacks, making runs into the attacking third and taking shots when necessary.
For Weber State, some standout performers include Grace Kirby, who despite being unable to get a shot in, played a vital role in most of Weber State’s best scoring opportunities with dangerous offensive runs, high pressure, great vision for passes and consistent stamina to keep up with the highly attacking Rebels. Along with her was Syalor Schlosser who had the closest shot to goal and was a consistent threat to the Rebels.
Within the first minute of the game, UNLV defender Halbersma saw teammate Buchanan making a run, so Halbersma played a long through ball over Weber State’s defense as Buchanan poached the pass and played a chip right over the keeper, and just like that the Rebels were 1-0 up.
As the game approached three minutes, UNLV made great use of Kitty Jones-Black’s throw-in which was thrown to Mimi Mendoza and passed through to Halbersma who shot it from a distance and was just barely denied with a great diving save by Weber State goalkeeper Tayiah Lambert who pushed the ball out for a corner.
Dominguez played the corner short to Cassie Villanueva, putting the Weber State Wildcats in a dangerous position, but as Cassie played the cross in, the cross was deflected leading to another corner for UNLV.
From UNLV’s second corner kick, Wildcat Kirby made an excellent clearance with a pass to Ali Swenson launching a counter-attack as Kirby made a quick run down the right wing where she was played a through ball by Swenson.
Kirby then played a great pass to Andelin Binford who made an attacking run into a dangerous area for the Rebels, but Dominguez cleared the ball and stopped the danger.
The Rebels maintained excellent possession of the ball with calm, timed passes as it passed its way into the attacking third. When the Rebels lost possession, it did a great job of constantly pressuring the Wildcats and quickly winning back possession.
In the 11th minute of play, Halbersma plays a ball from the back. Swenson gets her foot to it and steals possession, making a dangerous run into the penalty area and goes for the shot, but it is safely stopped at the feet of UNLV keeper Lucia Guemes.
In the 12th minute of play, Buchanon receives a pass and makes an excellent dribble nearing the penalty area. She then shields the ball from the Wildcats, and Weber State defender Alaina Wildenradt kicks the ball out, giving a corner to the Rebels.
The Rebels made great use of this corner with Dominguez playing it short to Halbersma, who shot a low shot blocked by the Wildcats’ defense but Torie Reardon caught the rebound with a volley that went wide.
In the 14th minute of the game, the Rebels were able to launch a great attack with no space as Dominguez played a ball to Buchanan then played Villanueva who played a cross in but was cleared by the Wildcats defense.
In the 18th minute, with a poor touch from Wildcat’s Shea Christiansen, Villanueva steals possession and makes an electrifying run down the left wing before shooting an outside-the-foot trivela shot that was caught in the arms of Lambert.
Dominguez played an excellent role being able to start a full counter-attack with no space by playing great passes, making important dribbles and opening space with runs into the attack.
In the 29th minute of the game, Villanueva played an amazing backheel no-look pass to Buchanan who ran past the Wildcats’ defense with incredible pace and dribbling skills and took a shot from outside the penalty area, putting the ball into the bottom corner with an outstanding strike putting the Rebels 2-0 up and leaving the Wildcats in awe.
The Rebels did a fantastic job of constantly keeping pressure on the Wildcats to minimize its attacking chances.
Eight minutes into the second half and, once again, the Rebels took full advantage of its opportunities. As the corner from Dominguez flew in, the ball landed right to Halbersma who struck a powerful volley but just went over the bar.
In the 61st minute of the game, Kirby fights for the ball after a long ball which she passes back to Olivia Tucker who goes for goal but misses over the bar.
In the 67th minute, Buchanan made a run down the left wing and played a dangerous low cross to Dominguez that was cleared by the Weber State defense.
Then, in the 70th minute, Marley Salveter makes a run down the right wing and plays a high cross into the box where Mallie Ramirez gets a head to it but misses left.
In the 73rd minute, Weber State would have a great chance with a freekick from Mikayla Topaum who played a deep cross to Schlosser who headered just high.
Then in the 74th, Topaum would strike the ball outside the 18-yard box, but it would sail just over the bar.
The Wildcats began to turn up the heat as they began to put high pressure on the Rebels and started taking more risks and scoring opportunities to potentially find the net.
In the 81st minute of the game, the Wildcats came up the field as a group effort with a high press which led to a dangerous outside-the-box shot from Schlosser, who aimed for the top left but the ball just barely curled out.
In the 84th, Buchanan made a quick run playing between Ramirez as they passed into the attacking third. Buchanon struck a rocket aiming top right but was saved with an incredible dive by Lambert who denied Buchanon a hattrick.
Despite all efforts from the Wildcats, they were unable to break the UNLV deadlock as the full-time whistle blew. Buchanan has secured a UNLV win with a double to seal the victory.
The Rebels come back home to face Hawaii at the Peter Johann Soccer Field on Sep. 3 at noon. The game will be available to watch on the Mountain West Network.