The UNCG Men’s Soccer team took home the win last weekend against UT Rio Grande Valley Friday night. Scoring goals in both halves, the Spartans secured a solid victory and boosts their record to 3-1-1 on the the young season. The win was the second home victory for the Blue and Gold. The Spartans will take a break this week returning to the UNCG Soccer Stadium this Friday to take on North Florida at 7p.m.
In the contest, the Spartans (3-1-1) got on the board quickly, pouncing on Rio Grande Valley. Just 10 minutes into the match, senior forward Ben Burdon dribbled through the Vaqueros defense and found the back of the net to draw the first goal of the game. Burdon zoomed through the Vaqueros defense and drove past four defenders to get behind the defense. Once in front of the goalkeeper, Burdon calmly kicked the ball inside the opposing net past Vaqueros goalkeeper Leo Castillo.
High spirits arose as the 1-0 lead drove the Spartan fans into a frenzy of Spartan Pride. Amongst the crowded members were fellow Spartan athletes from the Women’s and Men’s Basketball teams as well as the Women’s Soccer team.
Going into the second half, senior forward, Jacques Francois, had been itching for a goal against the Vaqueros. The redshirt senior was looking for had been looking for his second goal on the season. He had a chance, however, his powerful shot against Castillo ricocheted off the post before flying out of bounds. Along with François, junior forward, Damien Thomas, ripped a shot from the top of the yard box hitting the far post. The Vaqueros best chance of the game in the 50 minute of play. Juan Garcia got some space in the midfield and ripped a shot from 25-yards, out but senior goalkeeper Logan Rhode made an impressive save, securing the Spartans lead.
With the end of the game approaching, the Spartan defense went to great lengths to secure their goals, and protect the net as well as their goalie at all costs. Members of the lady Spartans soccer team began to cheer and support their fellow team as the 80th minute of play came to a head.
In the 80 minute of play, the Spartans sought to secure their win, and this increased as the team scored their second goal of the game, resulting in a burst of energy sent throughout the team as well as the supporting 974 in attendance.
With the hunger to produce another goal, Francois and Thomas hooked up once again to take home the win.
The Blue and Gold mounted a counter attack after freshman Leeroy Maguraushe forced a turnover at the top of the Spartans’ 18-yard box. Maguraushe was able to get the ball forward to Francois who had a generous amount of room to run through the midfield, put pressure on the last two Vaqueros defenders, and send a shot straight to Thomas securing a second goal for the Spartans.
Thomas fired a strong shot past Castillo which found its way to the back of the net, sending the crowd once again into a frenzy of joy. The goal was the team-leading third of the season for Thomas as he’s scored in three out of four games this year.
The Spartans were itching for a third goal Friday evening in the 88 minute of play off a free kick on the side of the 18-yard box. However, the Vaqueros squashed any chance of another goal as the game was coming to its conclusion.
Rohde picked up his second shutout of the season and lowered his goals against average to 1.11 on the season as he recorded one save in the victory. Vaqueros goalkeeper Castillo was forced to make five saves for the Vaqueros in the loss against the Spartans.
The victory left the Spartans with high hopes for the upcoming season, allowing their fans a taste of the energy to come against upcoming opposing teams.
The Spartans will rest this week before returning home for two more home games next weekend. UNCG will host North Florida next Friday night, September 18 and will host Jacksonville the following Sunday night, September 20th at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.