PEMBROKE – Having each closed out
season-opening five-game home stands, the UNCP men's and women's
soccer teams will pack up their show and head to St. Augustine,
Fla., this weekend to battle Peach Belt Conference rival Flagler in
the 2010 road opener for both sides.
After playing five games through the first 10 days of the current campaign, the UNCP men (1-3-1, 0-0-0 PBC) have gotten a break from action over the last five days. The most recent action for the Braves came in the form of a 2-0 loss to then-No. 5 Lynn at Varsity Grounds – a game in which the Black and Gold was held to a season-low three shots in an extremely physical contest.
Offensively, UNCP will be led into the weekend by a handful of newcomers, including Martin Tomter who has scored a team-best two goals thus far into the campaign. Two other rookies – Brett Luccia and Paul Freeman – have accounted for a goal apiece, while freshman Braxton Perkins boasts a pair of assists. Veteran Connor O'Boyle totes an assist as well.
Newcomer Ryan Hanson has been solid between the pipes for the Braves, posting 24 saves and a 1.34 goals against average in five full games for the Black and Gold. Flagler (3-1-0, 0-1-0) used three first half goals to take a 3-0 decision from the Braves last season in Pembroke. It was the first-ever matchup between the two schools' men's soccer squads.
The Lady Braves (3-1-1, 0-1-0) are coming off an extremely physical contest themselves, having battled region rival Wingate to a 0-0 stalemate on Wednesday evening in Pembroke. The contest saw a combined 33 fouls, as well as six bookings, with head coach Lars Andersson being sent off in the 72nd minute of play after being shown his second yellow card. The infraction marked just the third time in his 17-year coaching career that Andersson has been dismissed from the sideline, and will keep him from sideline on Saturday as well.
The Lady Braves continue to be led offensively by sophomore Anna Svensson who totes team-bests in both goals (7) and shots (18), while seven other players have registered at least one point this season. Rookie goalkeeper Britney Bennett has compiled a 2-1-1 record in four starts between the pipes for UNCP, while also registering a 0.71 goals against average and 15 saves. Through five games of her freshman campaign, the Seminole, Fla., native has also tallied a .833 save percentage.
The Lady Braves will roll into St. Augustine on Saturday having allowed just three goals this season, including yielding just one score in the last 324 minutes of action. Despite outshooting Flagler by an 18-4 margin in last season's matchup at Varsity Grounds, the Lady Saints (2-2-1, 1-0-0) managed to steal a 2-0 win on the road and currently lead the all-time series 1-0-0.
Following Saturday's matchups in Florida, the men's soccer team will continue a short road swing by traveling to Laurinburg on Wednesday to take on region rival St. Andrews, while the women's soccer team will return home to lock horns with Pfeiffer in a Wednesday evening contest at Varsity Grounds.