Senior Staff Writer
Spartans Soccer walked away from the pitch 2-0 this weekend after a 5-1 victory against Coastal Carolina on Friday. The Men’s team continued their impressive play with a 5-1 home win over Triad Rival High Point Tuesday night, pushing their win streak to four for the season. The Spartans’ dominant performance was an important statement win for the men as it was their first victory over High Point since October 2008.
In Tuesday night’s game, the Spartans found themselves up 2-1 at the half, thanks to two set-piece goals put away by fifth year senior Marco Milanese and junior Emmanual Hagan. Head Coach Chris Rich and the team came out into the second half with new life, greater intensity, and poise, leading to a dominating second-half shut-out and a 5-1 victory. The three goals in the second half came from fifth year senior Marco Alfonso, freshman Colton Sessoms, and freshman Maddox Mallery, his first collegiate goal.
Scoring five goals from five different players speaks volumes about the depth the Spartans are working with this year. After losing 15 players from last year’s roster, Rich was tasked with filling up the empty positions. Seeing top scorer Theo Collomb’s early exit from UNCG to enter the MLS draft was one of the biggest hits on the roster. Collomb led the nation in both goals and points scored for the majority of the 2021 season.
However, the men picked up where they left off and were tagged as the preseason SoCon favorite for the second year in a row, and they are looking to live up to the hype. The roster is full of talent and has four players on the preseason All-Southern Conference team: fifth year senior Marco Milanese, junior Emmanuel Hagan, junior Niclas Wild, and sophomore J.C. Ngando. The men also find themselves in the early Top-20 on the National Coaches Poll and ranked No. 5 in the South Region.
A few notable home games to look out for are:
September 17 vs Winthrop
October 1 vs Furman
October 15 vs ETSU
Additionally, the men face a demanding road schedule facing #10 Louisville, SMU, and #1 Clemson, whom they beat in an intense battle last season. The season is looking bright for the Spartans, and they should be a team to beat at the end of the season.
The Women’s Soccer team also walked away victorious after facing the Panthers in an away game on Thursday night. The Spartans found their way to an early deficit on Thursday night following a goal by the Panther’s Skyler Prillaman in the 18th minute. Nevertheless, the Spartans found some fight and gained the lead thanks to two goals by senior Maddy School and junior Hannah Morton. It was a scoreless second half, and the Spartans walked away with a 2-1 win, pushing them to 3-2-1 for the season.
The women were also forced to fill some big shoes on the roster from last season, most notably the loss of star goalkeeper Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper who is now abroad playing professional soccer for FC Málaga City Femenino. The Spartans welcomed eight new faces to the squad this year, and they have not disappointed. The freshman have settled in nicely with the team and are making a significant impact on the field; freshman Ryen Ortiz has scored the second most goals this season (2), trailing only senior Maddy Gilhool (3). The women found themselves ranked 6th in the preseason SoCon poll but are looking to open some eyes and make some noise in conference play.
A few notable home games to look out for the women are:
September 16 vs Elon
September 30 vs Samford
October 2 vs Chattanooga