Men's Soccer Ties Winthrop 1-1 In Exhibition Play
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men's soccer team wrapped up exhibition play with its third game in the past six days Monday night and the Spartans posted a 1-1 tie against Big South member Winthrop at Eagle Field in 90 minutes of action. UNCG will open the 2012 regular season Friday night as it travels to UNCW for a 7 p.m. start against the Seahawks.
"Tonight was a good game, a good test for us on the road in a hostile atmosphere," head coach Justin Maullin said. "I was a little disappointed with how we defended on the road as it was a point of emphasis for us but overall we are pleased with our performance in the preseason as tonight was the first goal we allowed in over 200-plus minutes in three games. We look forward to getting back to the practice field in preparation for our season opener Friday night in Wilmington."
The Spartans struck first in the 53rd minute as their pressure set up a corner kick. Freshman Christopher Reingen (Dusseldorf, Germany/Univ. of Dusseldorf) sent the kick into the 18-yard box but a Winthrop defender cleared the ball to the top of the box. Redshirt freshman Dustin Gamradt (Kiel, Germany/Hebbelschule) one touched the clearing attempt at the top of the box and ripped a low shot into the corner of the goal past Banfield for the 1-0 lead.
Winthrop became the first team to score against the Spartans in exhibition play, finding the back of the net in the 71st minute of play ending a stretch of 251 scoreless minutes by UNCG. Daniel Dibiagio made a run down the right-hand side and sent a cross into the box that UNCG goalkeeper Peyton Ford (Jamestown, N.C./Southwest Guilford) made a diving stab at to clear the ball. Alex Isern corralled the rebound and deposited it into the net for the 1-1 tie.
UNCG nearly took the lead right back just 37 seconds later as Reingen got behind the Winthrop defense. Banfield came charging out but Reingen was able to poke the ball past him. Redshirt sophomore Nathan Bunch (Raleigh, N.C./Incarnate Word) ran onto the loose ball with just a defender in goal but his shot banged off the goal post and back into play to keep the game tied.
Winthrop turned up the pressure on the Spartans who were playing their third game in six days. The Eagles had a chance in the 82nd minute as Sean Comer got behind the UNCG defense on a breakaway. Ford came out and challenged Comer, stopping his potential go-ahead scoring attempt with a smothering save.
The Eagles had the last chance of the evening in the 87th minute off play off of a corner kick. Dibiagio got his head on the end of the kick and sent it back across the grain but Ford made a diving stab to push the ball wide of the goal and preserve the 1-1 tie.
UNCG opens the 2012 season in Wilmington, N.C., as it faces the Seahawks of UNCW. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at the UNCW Soccer Stadium.