Spartan soccer took on Presbyterian last Saturday at the UNCG Soccer Stadium. The team ended up falling to the Blue Hose 1-0 in what was a hard-fought effort. Despite the many opportunities they had, the men ultimately couldn’t capitalize on them.
The team is currently 0-4-1 on the season. Their 3 other losses came against High Point University, Coastal Carolina University and UNC. Their tie came from the first game of the season when they played at the University of Alabama-Birmingham in two overtimes.
They went into this game searching for their first victory of the season. The team is currently in a stretch of home games during their season, as the next 6-of-8 are at home. When asked about how excited the team is to play at home so often, coach Justin Maullin had this to say.
“Obviously we always want to be playing at home.” But he was also honest when he added, “but right now we haven’t won a game at home. All 3 home games so far have been losses. We need to get results at home; that’s very important.”
The men started out the game well, but in the 14th minute the Blue Hose got their first and only goal of the game off of the foot of Sergio Pinto, who was assisted by a Garrett Glaze cross into the box. Pinto shot the ball from 15 feet out and netted it nicely. When asked how he thought his players should have defended the goal better, Maullin stated that, “The scouting report strictly warned us to watch out for their number 9, who scored the goal.” Again being honest, Justin added that, “Quite frankly, we haven’t been good enough when the opposing team has the ball in wide areas in our defensive third. We just have to get better at defending crosses.”
There were no more goals during the first half. Going into halftime Maullin said that the team discussed how to improve.
“Just do exactly what we had been doing. I thought that we were well on top of the game, except for that one cross. We were by far the better team. We didn’t want to change too much regarding the game because we were playing like the better team.”
They played like the better team, too. They just got unlucky with the lone goal.
The second half got underway and the blue and gold had opportunities, but couldn’t capitalize. One of the most exciting moments in the second half came when fellow Spartan Josh Masten got a yellow card in the 58th minute. Coach Maullin thought the card was fair though as he said that “he could’ve gotten a second yellow as well, but he didn’t. I thought the first call was fair and that the ref did a good job.”
The game eventually ended with the men losing. Despite having six more corner kicks (9 to 3) and more than doubled with shots by period (20-8), Presbyterian’s lone goal in the 31st minute was the difference in the game. They had their opportunities, but they couldn’t take advantage. Coach agreed, saying that, “We just have to put it in the net. We just need guys to step up and start scoring goals. Last year we were top 10 in the country in scoring goals. Right now we’ve scored 2 in 5 games and 1 has been a penalty.” The team definitely needs to look to last year’s team about getting better as they continue into the rest of their season.
The Spartans continue their season this Saturday when they play host to UNC Asheville. Following that match, the Spartans will travel to Campbell on, Sept. 20 before playing host for a third straight Saturday when they square off against the Mountaineers of Appalachian State. The final week in Sept. marks the beginning of the Southern Conference season when they travel on the road to face East Tennessee State before hosting the Furman Paladins that Saturday.