Men’s soccer ties, clenches win during first week

By Harrison Slaughter – jslaught@unca.edu – Staff Writer | Sept. 3, 2014 |

The UNC Asheville men’s soccer team opened the season with a 3-3 draw against USC Upstate on Friday. The Bulldogs began the game with two early goals in the first half, but could not grasp the win.

According to Matt Kern, head coach, they prepared for this game by playing a brutal preseason schedule.

“We did a lot of defending in the preseason and we felt like it was going to prepare us for the regular season,” Kern said. “Tonight was a little bit different because I felt like we had a little more possession than Upstate.”

Jackson Allen, a freshman forward for the Bulldogs, put UNCA on the board first with a goal 14 minutes into play. He added another goal 26 minutes into play after slipping by several defenders to bury the ball in the right side of the net.

“It was awesome. It was a great feeling,” Allen said about scoring his first two collegiate goals. “I was at Appalachian State last year, and I was playing left back so I was a lot more defensive. Now I’m up in the front, scoring goals and it feels good.”

Kyle Juell put Upstate on the board with a goal with a cross from Matt Flynn. Peter Bannister scored the equalizer for Upstate with an assist from Marvin Schmiege.

Four yellow cards were given out 79 minutes into play. One of which resulted in a red card for Juell, putting Upstate down to 10 men.

“I didn’t think Upstate was playing dirty. It was just a hard fought division I game,” Kern said. “It gets emotional and it was just physical.”

Upstate tied the game again with an unassisted goal by Schmiege. During the final 10 minutes and two overtime periods the game remained scoreless.

“We conceded three goals which is disappointing, but 3-3 is probably not an unfair result,” Kern said. “One of the difficult things about the game is there are so many ebbs and flows. The mental ability to not take breaks is vital.”

The Bulldogs were able to pick up their first win of the season with a 2-1 victory against Brevard College on Sunday. The game went scoreless into halftime, but shortly into the second half, Allen put them on the scoreboard first.

According to Kern, the scoreless half wasn’t all due to lackluster play from the Bulldogs.

“In a very large part, Brevard did a good job of defending with lots of numbers and made it hard for us to break them down,” Kern said. “They would get 10 or 11 guys behind the ball so there wasn’t a lot of space. We were mainly just satisfied to keep possession and go side to side. We just didn’t, in the first half, do a good enough job of finding ways to break them down.”

Allen scored his third goal of the season in the 49th minute on an assist from Paul Egle. Tevin Beckwith, a freshman forward for the Bulldogs, scored in the 69th minute when he beat the goalie to ball and put it in the net before collapsing on the left side of the goal.

Kern said Beckwith had just asked to be taken out the game due to fatigue.

“I knew I had the goalie beat and when I looked and saw the shot was going in, I just laid there,” Beckwith said. “It felt great to score, but while I was running I was dead tired.”

The Bulldogs weren’t able to get the shutout. Brevard got on the board in the 89th minute of play on a cross from Gabriel Pastrana to Jessie Omezi who was waiting about eight yards out from goal.

“We are really disappointed to not be able to keep the clean sheet. It is something we pride ourselves on,” Kern said. “Over the course of the year, the teams that end up winning more games than they lose are the teams that are able to grind it out and win games with a shutout.”

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