Braves Fall Just Short In Exhibition Match At UNC Greensboro
GREENSBORO – Transfer Sean Hoek tallied a pair of goals in his UNCP debut, but UNC Greensboro made a tight halftime lead stand up as the NCAA Division I Spartans held off a late charge by the visitors to post a 3-2 exhibition victory over the Braves on Saturday evening at UNCG Soccer Stadium.
Hoek, a transfer from East Tennessee State, posted a goal in each half to give the Black and Gold its only offensive output of the evening, with fellow newcomer Matt MacDougall registering an assist. Sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Hanson collected six saves between the pipes in the first half for UNCP as well. The Spartans, who return 14 letterwinners from last season's NCAA Tournament squad, used a pair of scores from junior Hakan Ilhan to key the triumph. Davis Griffin collected two saves for the Spartans while Moffitt registered three.
The Spartans took the early lead when Ilhan hit the back of the net to give the hosts a 1-0 lead at the 18:24 mark, but Hoek rallied the Braves back with the team's first goal just more than six minutes to knot things back up. Ilhan would deliver his second goal of the game six minutes before the halftime break to give UNCG a lead it would not relinquish.
Austin Miller gave the hosts a 3-1 lead in the 68th minute, but the Braves continued to fight back as Hoek connected on his second goal with three minutes remaining in regulation.
"This is a positive start to the season, but we have more building to work on in order to get us ready for the regular season," said UNCP head coach Phil Hindson. "UNCG is a tough team to play, but I am proud of the players because each one has great potential to contribute on the field."
UNCG posted 16 shots compared to the Black and Gold's 11. Hoek led the team with three shots, all of which were on goal, while Adam Smith and Alex Antonescu tallied two shots. For the Spartans, Ilhan and Fannar Arnarsson each collected three shots while four other Spartans posted two shots a piece.
"UNC Pembroke is a very good team and are much improved from last year, so tonight's game is pretty much what I expected it to be," said UNCG head coach Justin Maullin, a teammate of Hindson's at William Carey in Hattiesburg, Miss. "Sean Hoek is a very good player for them and he got two goals against us tonight. We lost the flow of the game a little bit in the second half and it got a bit scrappy."
The Braves will open up its 2011 regular season on September 1 when the Black and Gold hosts region rival St. Andrews at Varsity Grounds at 7 p.m. Admission to all 2011 home soccer matches is free.