UNCG vs. East Tennessee State, Aug. 31, 7 p.m., UNCG Soccer Stadium
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GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG's men's soccer team will look to defend its new national rankings when the Spartans host East Tennessee State at the UNCG Soccer Stadium on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
With a season-opening 3-2 win over then-No. 12 Duke on Friday, the Spartans (1-0) moved into a trio of national polls this week. UNCG is No. 19 in the CSN Top 30 National Poll, No. 20 in the Soccer America Men's Top 25 and No. 24 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Continental Tire Top 25.
Junior forward Hakan Ilhan scored a pair of goals in the Spartans' win over the Blue Devils, UNCG's third over Duke in the last four official meetings between the squads. Including three exhibition games, UNCG is 5-2 against Duke since 2005.
Oddur Gudmundsson had UNCG's other goal against Duke on Friday, converting a Brian Graham pass in the ninth minute to electrify the home crowd and put the Spartans ahead early. Ilhan made it a 2-0 game in the 16th minute on a penalty kick then made it a three-goal spread when he cashed in a David Reittinger pass in the 56th minute.
Duke's Andrew Wenger scored a pair of goals less than three minutes apart to pull the Blue Devils back within a goal, but UNCG held on for the big win. Spartan keeper Peyton Ford made four saves in picking up the win in the net.
Ilhan earned several accolades for his big night, starting with a pair of national honors. The Stuttgart, Germany, junior earned spots on the TopDrawerSoccer.com Men's College Team of the Week and the College Soccer News National Team of the Week and was named the Southern Conference co-Player of the Week.
UNCG and East Tennessee State (1-0) have met just once in men's soccer, with the Spartans taking a 3-1 win over the Bucs at the Elon Tournament in 2008. Current ETSU senior Jaron Westbrook scored the Bucs' lone goal in that contest.
The Bucs opened the season with a 3-0 win over Presbyterian on Saturday. The reigning Atlantic Sun Conference tournament champions got a goal and an assist from Aaton Schoenfeld and goals from Alesi Osorio and David Geno in cruising to the win. ETSU outshot the Blue Hose 20-4, while keeper Ryan Coulter didn't have to make a save for his first shutout of the season.
Schoenfeld's performance earned him A-Sun Player of the Week honors.
- UNCG is ranked in the top 25 of three national polls (19th College Soccer News, 20th Soccer America, 24th NSCAA/Continental Tire).
- UNCG is nationally ranked for the first time since the 2007 preseason.
- UNCG is tied for third in the South Region rankings with Duke, while ETSU checks in at No. 7 in the same region.
- The Spartans lead the all-time series with ETSU, 1-0.
- Wednesday's contest will feature the reigning players of the week for the Southern and Atlantic Sun conferences. UNCG's Hakan Ilhan was this week's SoCon co-POW, while ETSU's Aaron Schoenfeld is the A-Sun POW.
- UNCG and ETSU are defending tournament champions in their respective conferences. UNCG won its fifth SoCon tournament title in 2010, while ETSU collected its first A-Sun title.
- UNCG is 10-2-2 in its last 14 home matches, dating back to the 2009 season.
- ETSU is the first of two straight A-Sun opponents at home for UNCG. The Spartans host North Florida on Sept. 9 after a Sept. 5 road date at Clemson.
- ETSU fell to another SoCon team, College of Charleston, 3-2 in the first round of the NCAA tournament last season. The Bucs are one of four 2010 NCAA tourney teams on UNCG's schedule this year (Duke, CofC and William & Mary).
- A former member of the SoCon, ETSU didn't field a men's soccer program until the 2008 season.
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