UNCP Soccer Squads Battle Clayton State In Doubleheader
PEMBROKE – The UNCP women's and men's soccer teams will hit the road in a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader tilt with rival Clayton State on Saturday in Morrow, Ga. at Laker Field with the women's game starting at 5 p.m. and the men's game following the conclusion of the women's game.
The Lady Braves (8-4-1, 3-4-0 PBC) look to break a season-long two game skid on Saturday after losing to No. 22 Armstrong Atlantic State, 2-0, last Saturday and 1-0 to Georgia College on Wednesday. Wednesday's loss to Georgia College stood as the first time all season UNCP recorded two-straight losses.
In Wednesday's matchup, sophomore goalkeeper Britney Bennett tied a season-high with 12 saves but a goal in the 58th minute by Lindsey Knott stood as the eventual game winner. Bennet leads the conference with 76 saves and a .894 saves percentage on the season while also sitting second in goals against average (0.70) and third in goals against (nine).
Junior Andrea Collèn is tied for sixth in the conference with seven goals scored, tied for fourth in the conference with five assists and is tied for second with 19 points. Freshman Amalia Arvidsson is sixth in the league with 42 shots on the year while junior Ashley Anctil is tied with Arvidsson for seventh in the PBC with three assists.
Clayton State (7-5-0, 3-3-0 PBC) will enter Saturday's matchup having won four-straight matches after losing the previous three. The last four wins have all be shutouts and the Lakers have outscored their opponents by a 7-0 margin during that span.
Natalia Valentine leads the team with nine goals and 19 points while also leading the team with 22 shots on goal and a .243 shot percentage. Josephine Holstein is second on the team with three goals and seven points. Laoise O'Driscoll has posted an .817 saves percentage and 58 saves with more than 1067 minutes in goal. She holds a 1.10 goals against average and a 12-11 record between the pipes.
UNCP holds a 4-6-1 record against the Lakers in the all-time series and the Lady Braves have been unbeaten over the last three contests. UNCP captured a pair of 3-0 wins in 2008 and 2010, and the two squads battled to a 2-2 tie in 2009.
The Braves (8-3-1, 1-2-1) captured a 5-0 victory this week as Sam Miles registered his 10th and 11th goals of the season to post the first two goals of the game en route to leading the visiting Black and Gold to the shutout win over region opponent Barton on Monday evening. Miles put the Braves on the scoreboard with less than two minutes into the game which was followed by goals by Shaun Herselman, Stuart Rodgers and Alex Antonescu.
UNCP's matchup with the Wingate Bulldogs scheduled for Wednesday evening was been canceled due to poor field conditions because of a considerable amount of rainfall that had accumulated over the past few days which made the field at the WU Soccer Complex unplayable.
UNCP's scoring offense is ranked third nationally along with fourth in total goals, while Miles is ranked 30th in points per game with 1.91 and leads the conference in goals (11), points (25) and shots (55).
Clayton State (8-4-0, 3-2-0) was previously ranked in the top 25 but dropped out this week after suffering two tough losses to Montevallo, 1-0, and Tusculum, 1-0 before defeating Georgia Southwestern 4-3 in its only match of the week on Wednesday. Leading the Lakers is Kenny Mena with eight goals and three assists for a team-best 19 points. Matty Phillips and Janny Rivera share a team best four assists, while Brian Garcia has recorded 33 saves and a 6-4-0 record in goal.
UNCP and Clayton State will meet for the 17th time on Saturday in a series controlled by the Lakers. The Lakers will bring a 6-10-0 series advantage going into the game as well as a seven-game winning streak. Last season, visiting and 23rd-ranked Clayton State got goals from five different players, including a trio of second half scores, to stretch its series winning streak out with a 5-1 win over UNCP at Varsity Grounds.