Patriots Snap UNCP Winning Streak
PEMBROKE – UNCP came out of the halftime gates with a purpose and found most of the play in the second stanza, but visiting Francis Marion used a pair of defensive breakdowns to score a goal in each period to stretch its unbeaten streak out to three games with a 2-0 win over the Braves Thursday evening at Varsity Grounds.
The setback snapped a two-game winning streak by the Braves (7-6-1, 3-3-0 PBC) who recorded an 11-4 shot advantage in the second half in very wet field conditions. The result gave Francis Marion (7-3-3, 2-1-2) consecutive victories in its series with the Braves for the first time since taking both the regular season and PBC Tournament matchups during the 2000 season.
Reigning PBC Goalkeeper of the Week Clark Richeson stopped all six shots on goal from the Braves to notch his fifth clean sheet of the season, with FMU getting goals from both Chris Foltanski and Juan Rivas. Carlos Cipriano matched Rivas with a game-best four shots, with Travis Mulford collecting a pair of shots on goal for the Braves. UNCP netminder Horatio Bynes grabbed a pair of saves in a losing effort.
“Give credit to Francis Marion, they moved the ball really well,” said UNCP head coach Mike Schaeffer. “Our plan was to try and put them under pressure, and we started out that way for the first nine minutes and gave them a lot of problems, but then we just decided not to pressure anymore and let them take over the game. When we put them under pressure, we created opportunities. When we didn't, they outplayed us.”
After seeing shots come at a premium through the first 29 minutes of play, Foltanski gave Francis Marion a lead it would never relinquish at the 29:12 mark when he redirected a phenomenal service from Kyle Clinton past an outstretched Bynes. It would be the only shot on target the Patriots would record in the period.
The sides split a pair of shots through the first 15 minutes of the second half before Francis Marion, again, found the back of the net, this time on a quick transition goal. Playing off the back end of a UNCP attack, an effective clearance pass by Ivan Juric found the feet of a streaking Rivas down the near sideline and the junior outraced a pair of UNCP defenders before punching a ball past Bynes to cap the scoring on the night.
UNCP will close out the home portion of its 2009 schedule on Saturday when the Braves suit up to host PBC foe Lander (5-4-1, 2-0-1) in the back half of a 4 p.m. men's and women's doubleheader at Varsity Grounds. The game will be preceded by Senior Night festivities as the Braves' Class of 2009 – Steve Locker, Diego Castillo, Alex Allende, Rondell Honora, Davis Stephenson and Tom Courtney – will be honored in a pregame ceremony.