Braves Victorious Over St. Andrews In 2011 Season Opener
PEMBROKE – The UNCP men's soccer team used three second half goals to secure the 4-1 victory over St. Andrews to capture its first win of the 2011 season on Thursday evening at Varsity Grounds. The victory marked the fourth-straight for the Braves in the series with the Knights.
The Braves (1-0-0) began their charge on the goal early in the first half with an unassisted goal by transfer Sean Hoek. Hoek dribbled the ball around the defenders and into the box for a close range shot to put the Braves ahead by one. St. Andrews (0-1-0) replied back 15 minutes later with its only goal of the game from Brandon Vaughan as he scored off a close range shot which ricocheted around several defenders before hitting the back of the net. Both teams entered halftime tied 1-1, but the Black and Gold struggled to score despite holding a 15-4 shots advantage over the Knights.
Sophomore Martin Tomter led the second half momentum by scoring less than two minutes after halftime. Braxton Perkins passed the ball from the right side of the box to Tomter on the left side for a close range goal. Transfer Shaun Herselman registered his first goal as a Brave in the 70th minute as he controlled a loose ball inside the box to bring the score to 3-1. The final goal was passed from the left side of the field by Tomter and Paul Freeman to an open Travis Mulford at the 18-yard line. Mulford strategically placed the ball into the top left corner above goalkeeper Corey Francis.
Freshman goalkeeper Joe Cullip recorded five saves in his 90 minutes of action. The Black and Gold outshot the Knights, 29-8, and tallied all nine corner kicks. Despite three yellow cards apiece, the Braves posted 24 fouls compared to St. Andrews' 13 fouls.
Hoek led the Braves with seven which Tomter added five - four of those shots were on goal. Adam Smith and Herselman each tallied three shots, while Stuart Rodgers, Sam Miles, Braxton Perkins and Mulford registered two apiece. Alex Smith tallied three shots of the eight taken by the Knights. Francis spent all 90 minutes in goal and collected nine saves on the night.
"We played well throughout the night, we just had to persevere," said UNCP head coach Phil Hindson. "We were unfortunate in the first half with some of the finishes because our movement was good, but they are a much improved team from last year."
The Braves will continue action against Queens on Sunday at Varsity Grounds in Pembroke. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and admission to all 2011 home soccer matches is free.