GREENSBORO, N.C. - It was a tale of two halves on Saturday, as UNCG men's soccer was unable to fight back from an early deficit to visiting Appalachian State, falling to the Mountaineers by a final of 4-2. After going behind 3-1 in the opening 45, the Spartans climbed their way back into a one-goal deficit, before an ASU tally on the counter sealed the final decision.
"The one thing about this group is they certainly never give up," said Head Coach Chris Rich in postgame. "They definitely leave it all out there till the end, with a lot of guys that played heavy minutes....Most of those guys played 90 minutes and definitely left everything out there. The mentality in the second half was better for sure. We competed better, we fought harder. They got back into the game, but at the end of the day, the first half was the opposite. It wasn't good enough... but the second half was definitely better."
Ceding the first goal of the night on an App State set piece, the Spartans managed to draw a foul inside the 18 during the 22nd minute, with sophomore Albert Pedra lining up to take the spot kick. The Spaniard showed both pace and placement in his first PK opportunity of 2019, sliding the equalizer by ASU keeper Jacob Madden inside the right post.
The Mountaineer offense continued to press in the latter stages of the opening half however, putting away the go ahead and an insurance marker in the 28th and 29th minutes respectively.
Facing a 3-1 deficit, UNCG stepped up its intensity in the second half, tallying eight corner kick opportunities in the latter 45 alone. One of those chances ended in a goal for senior defender Casey Penland, who rose up above his marker to head in a perfectly aimed cross from teammate Nelson Oceano.
With the Spartans pushing for a third, and tying, goal, the Mountaineers were dealt a handful of counter attack opportunities, eventually putting away their fourth tally of the night in the 87th. With time dwindling down on the game clock, UNCG was unable to find another goal before the end of regulation, with the final difference reading 4-2 in favor of the visitors.
Three Things To Know
-- Pedra's tally was his third of the season placing him just behind teammate Micah Albert (4) for a team lead
-- Penland's finish was his second of the year, his other goal of the season came off a set piece header as well, in his team's season opener against George Washington
-- The Spartans' two goals tie for the most scored against App State in 2019. The only other match the Mountaineers have surrendered multiple goals came in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of No. 9 Saint John's to start the season.
The Spartans take the short trip to Elon this coming Wednesday at 7 p.m., facing off with a Phoenix side they defeated 1-0 last year, in a double overtime thriller
-- UNCG –