HIGH POINT, N.C. - UNCG men's soccer falls 1-0 in this year's rendition of the Piedmont Triad Derby, outshooting the hosting High Point Panthers 14-4 in their final test before Southern Conference play this next Saturday against VMI.
The Spartans outshot the Panthers in the opening 45 minutes, but it would be the home side to secure the first lead on the evening, scoring the go ahead in the 28th. UNCG would get their own opportunities in the first half, with striker Micah Albert tallying a pair of shots in the opening stanza. The sophomore forward would come up empty however, and the Spartans were forced to take a one-goal deficit into the break.
"I thought in the first half, we weren't great, but we weren't terrible," said Head Coach Chris Rich in postmatch. "They [High Point] had really just that one chance, and scored on that one chance. They certainly had other moments, but we weren't terrible..."
UNCG came out with renewed determination in the second half, taking firm control of the final 45 minutes and outshooting their hosts 10-1 in the remainder of the match. The Spartans earned six corners in the second period alone, creating multiple chances on set pieces. Senior defender Casey Penland delivered two legitimate opportunities to even things, sending a headed opportunity over the crossbar in the 65th and a second into the arms of the HPU keeper in the 76th.
"The second half, we were excellent. We were on the front foot, we had the majority of the possession. I think that we had them pinned in their own half for the majority of the game, we were just lacking a little bit of quality in front of goal. We were lacking that moment for someone to be special, somebody to have the right pass, the right touch, the right shot, the right moment... I told the guys that I thought they were excellent in the second half. I'm proud of them, sorry that we lost, but I thought that we were very good, especially in that second half."
With the field tilted heavily in their favor, the Spartans continued to apply pressure creating scoring chances even into the 90th minute of play. Time would run out on the visitors however, and the final buzzer on the 26th edition of the Piedmont Triad Derby would read 1-0 in favor of the hosting Panthers.
"High Point's a good team," said Coach Rich. "Obviously a tournament team last year, one of the better teams in the Big South, they're well coached and they're going to win a lot of games. It was definitely a good test for us on the road against a good team... The last couple of games, between Davidson and High Point, we're paying very well. We're just unfortunately not getting results and as a staff we have to figure out how to get results. But certainly, tight games like this against good teams are good preparation for conference-play."
Three Things To Know
-- The Spartan defense held the Panthers to just four shots on the evening, and allowed just two of those attempts to go on goal
-- Albert Pedra and Casey Penland each tied for a match-high three shots on the afternoon, with all six attempts coming in the final 30 minutes of the contest
-- In addition to outshooting the Panthers 14-4, the Spartans had seven corners to HPU's two
COMING UP NEXT
With a week off before starting the Southern Conference season, UNCG will kickoff SoCon play against visiting VMI next Saturday, looking to beat the Keydets for a 19th consecutive time.
-- UNCG –