Menís Soccer Drops Hard Fought Game To No. 9 Clemson
CLEMSON, S.C. – Despite out-shooting the ninth-ranked team in the country 13-9, the UNCG men’s soccer team dropped a 2-0 decision to nationally ranked Clemson Tuesday night at Historic Briggs Field. The Spartans return to action Saturday night as they begin a three-game home stand welcoming in UNCW to the UNCG Soccer Stadium at 7 p.m.
“We definitely deserved a better outcome tonight,” head coach Justin Maullin said. “We played really well, especially in the first 25 minutes of the second half where we dominated play against a top 10 team in Clemson.”
UNCG held a 13-9 advantage in the loss, including an 8-5 edge in the second half. The Spartans also held a 5-4 edge in corner kicks, including a 4-1 lead in the second 45 minutes.
The Spartans’ had the first prime scoring chance of the game in the 30th minute of play after an initial corner kick attempt. The ball came back out to sophomore Lukas Zarges (Freidrichsdorf, Germany/Hebbleschule) who whipped it back into the box. Senior defender Mahdi Ali (Helsinki, Finland/Vuosaaren Lukio) got his head on the ball and pushed it just wide of the post to keep the game scoreless.
The Spartans kept the pressure on in the 31st minute as senior Oddur Gudmundsson (Reykjavik, Iceland/Breidholti) took advantage of a Clemson turnover in the midfield. Gudmundsson carried the ball to the top of the 18-yard box and ripped a shot that Clemson goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell had to make a diving save on to keep the game tied at 0-0.
Clemson, which had been held at bay for much of the first half, was awarded a penalty kick in the 41st minute of action as a UNCG defender was called for a disputed foul inside the 18-yard box. Thomas McNamara stepped forward for the Tigers and converted the penalty kick after a stutter-step approach giving Clemson a 1-0 lead on his sixth tally of the year.
The Spartans came out of the halftime break and held the run of the play in the early going posting the first five shots of the second half. Junior David Reittinger (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest) had the best chance as he found space 15-yards out and ripped a shot past the Clemson goalkeeper, but Tiger defender Phanuel Kavita was able to make a diving kick save on the goal line to keep the Spartans off the board.
Clemson weathered the UNCG early storm and scored its second goal of the game on its first prime scoring chance of the second half in the 70th minute. Paul Clowes sent a through ball into the 18-yard box where Manolo Sanchez took one touch to free space before blasting a shot into the side netting past redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Stephen Moffitt (Burlington, N.C./Williams) for the 2-0 lead.
The Spartans return home for three straight games, beginning Saturday night as they host in-state foe UNCW. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.
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