Labor Day is often regarded as the time when Americans get to escape the horrors of the dreaded Monday, opting instead to stay home and enjoy the privilege of a few moments of peace. In the spirit of such a joyous occasion, it was only appropriate that the Spartans would go out and make easy work of the High Point Panthers, defeating them by a final score of 4-0.
UNCG was the superior team from the opening kickoff, as freshman forward Nicole Souply scored her first career goal within the tenth minute. Junior midfielder Cienna Rideout continued her All-American level performance in non-conference play, as she extended her goal-scoring streak to four games in the 32nd minute to give UNCG a 2-0 lead. The onslaught would continue, as Quiqui Hita would score the third goal of the half in the 37th minute giving the Spartans a 3-0 lead which they would carry into halftime.
In the first half, UNCG dominated High Point by almost every measure. The Spartans were able to win the shot battle 14-4 in the half. Of the 14 shots that the Spartans were able to attempt, eight of them were on goal, meaning that UNCG had double the amount of shots on goal than High Point had shots in general.
Playing with a significant advantage on the scoreboard, the pace of the game slowed tremendously in the second half as the Spartans focused more on defensive execution and protecting the lead. UNCG was able to do just that, by holding High Point to only six shots attempted, and also not allowing the Panthers to score in the half.
The Spartans were also able to add a little more offense and put the final nail in the coffin, as freshman Forward Caroline Fiorella recorded her first collegiate goal in the 82nd minute giving UNCG a 4-0 lead.
With the victory, UNCG improved to 4-1-1 on the young season, and High Point fell to 1-4-1. This is a promising start for UNCG as preseason projections have them narrowly finishing in second place, one vote behind Samford in the SoCon.
After the game, UNCG Head Coach Michael Coll praised his team stating that “it was such a dominating performance tonight… we’ve been so close to putting away teams with multiple goals and a shutout, and that’s exactly what we did tonight.”.
Astonishingly, the goaltenders behind this dominant performance are so young. Starting Goalkeeper Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper continued her amazing freshman campaign as she recorded her third shutout of the season, three saves and improved her season record to 4-1-1. In the 75th minute, freshman Anna Bryant was given her first collegiate playing time, and she dominated with three saves in her limited time.
After the game, Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper’s Aunt Joyce praised the communication of not only her niece but of the team as a unit. She stated that “the whole team is gelling well and communicating with one another to effectively score and shut-out their opponents.”
Like her niece, Aunt Joyce is from Charlottesville, VA and she decided to use her day off to make a three-hour commute to come to support Tyler-Cooper as well as the rest of the team. It is this type of fan dedication that helps to create the home field advantage which UNCG definitely had on Monday.
UNCG is back in action on Friday night at 7:00 p.m., as they travel to Davidson to face off against the Wildcats who currently sit at 2-4 on the season, and are looking to end a three-game losing streak. Hopefully, the Spartans can continue their astounding play, come out of Davidson with a victory and take another step towards entering the SoCon ready to be conference champions.