by: Beckett Bathanti – Sports Editor – firstname.lastname@example.org
UNC Asheville’s men’s soccer team suffered another pair of defeats to conference opponents last week, dropping the Bulldogs to 0-7 in Big South play and 1-13 overall.
“We had a chance to win today,” Head Coach Matt Kern said, following the loss to Gardner-Webb on Oct. 9.
UNCA allowed that chance to disappear in minute 79 when Garner-Webb’s Jon Ole Reinhardsen headed a corner kick past goalie Dan Jackson. Gardner-Webb fended off the Bulldogs for the next 11 minutes to preserve the 1-0 victory.
“It looked like we gave them a free header on that one,” Kern said. “He wasn’t challenged, and on corner kicks we have to get a body on a body and at least make it uncomfortable for them.”
On Saturday, the Bulldogs fought back from a 2-0 deficit at the half, but still came up short against the Highlanders.
Prior to the game, Kern knew it would be a tough one.
“They are a very, very good team, and we will have our work cut out for us,” he said.
In minute 18, Bernardo Ulmo gave Radford the lead they would never relinquish off of a pass from Jamie Summers.
The goal was Ulmo’s 10th of the year.
UNCA’s only goal of the day, which came courtesy of sophomore Alex Chu, was the Bulldogs’ 10th goal of the season.
Junior co-captain Bobby Castro admits this season has not turned out as it was planned.
“Obviously we are not having as good a season as we want to,” the Cary native said.
Castro said some of the younger players are not accustomed to losing as many games as the Bulldogs have lost this year.
“Some of the guys that come from winning high school programs are not really used to losing like this, so I try and keep their heads up,” he said.
Castro insists the pieces to a winning program are already in place.
“We absolutely have the talent. We are just not getting the results right now, and that is frustrating,” Castro said.
Sophomore Stabler Cochrane said he was proud of the resilience the team has shown throughout the losing season.
“Honestly, I have been very impressed by the way we have approached each game as a fresh start, and not carrying a loss into the next game.
Cochrane, who scored his first career goal in a 3-2 loss to Presbyterian College earlier this season, has found himself starting for the Bulldogs.
“I haven’t had a lot of minutes, so I have to make the most of it now. I’ve earned my spot, and now I have to work hard for my teammates,” Cochrane said.
The sophomore was all over the field in the loss to Gardner-Webb, making runs and mixing it up with players who were stronger and taller than himself.
“He has fought hard after being red-shirted last year and worked his way into the lineup,” Kern said.
Kern said Cochrane is one of the more creative players on the team.
“I love his risk-taking on the field, and I think he will put on some weight in the offseason. Right now he’s kind of gangly,” Kern said.
The Bulldogs host VMI at Greenwood Field on Saturday for the last home match of the year.