Ilhan's Record-Setting Performance Leads Men's Soccer To Victory In SoCon Opener
DAVIDSON, N.C. – UNCG senior forward Hakan Ilhan (Stuttgart, Germany/Univ. of Stuttgart) tied a single-game program record with four assists leading the Spartans to a 4-0 victory over Davidson in the Southern Conference opener Tuesday night at the Alumni Soccer Stadium. The Spartans tallied four first half goals, including three in a seven-minute stretch, to snap Davidson's four-game winning streak.
"I am so proud of the guys tonight," head coach Justin Maullin said. "It is so vital to get off to a good start in conference on the road against a very good Davidson team. We spoke to the group before the game about playing a full 90 minutes and tonight we really did."
The Spartans weathered three early shots from Davidson before settling in and striking for the first goal in all of SoCon action in the seventh minute. UNCG sent the ball to the top of the 18-yard box where Ilhan was able to bring the ball down in between three Davidson defenders and touched a perfect pass across the top of the box.
Freshman midfielder Lukas Zarges (Friedrichsdorf, Germany/Philip Reis Schule) took the soft pass and ripped a right-footed shot that bent around Davidson goalkeeper Matt Pacifici into the back of the net for the early 1-0 lead. The goal was the second of the season for Zarges while Ilhan picked up his second helper of the year.
UNCG turned in another prime chance in the 11th minute of action as Zarges and Ilhan connected once again. This time Zarges sent a long diagonal pass finding Ilhan behind the Davidson backline. Ilhan went one-on-one against Pacifici and beat the goalkeeper low, but the ball skidding just outside the far post to keep it a one-goal contest.
The Spartans kept the pressure on Davidson as they piled on three goals in a seven minute stretch (26:27-33:27) to extend the lead to 4-0 just 34 minutes into the contest. Zarges obtained possession in the midfield and made a run down the middle of the field before sending a long diagonal pass to the top of the 18-yard box. Ilhan occupied a couple of Davidson defenders and touch the ball to sophomore Austin Miller (High Point, N.C./High Point Central). Miller was in behind the defense and beat Pacifici low for his first goal of the season.
The Spartans' first half offensive explosion concluded in the 34th minute of play. Redshirt sophomore Justin Jones (Jamestown, N.C./Lees-McRae) took a long throw-in into the box that Ilhan flicked from the front post to the back post where junior Oddur Gudmundsson (Reykjavik, Iceland/Breidholti) one-touched it into the back of the net for his fifth of the season and a 4-0 lead.
Davidson had it best chance for a goal in the 55th minute of action as Andrew DiLallo found some space inside the 18-yard box. DiLallo ripped a shot from 12-yards out, but fifth-year senior goalkeeper Peyton Ford (Jamestown, N.C./Southwest Guilford) made a diving stab to keep the Spartans' slate clean.
Ford finished the night with four saves, posting his first shutout of the season and the Spartans' second of the year. Pacifici was charged with four goals in 63:09, while making two saves for the Wildcats. UNCG improved to 3-4-2 overall with the victory while the Wildcats fall to 4-3-1 on the year.
The Spartans return home to the UNCG Soccer Stadium for their first of four straight home games Saturday night as UNCG hosts Appalachian State in SoCon play at 7 p.m.
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