By Raymond Brewer-Posey
News Staff Writer
UNC Asheville Bulldog’s men’s soccer team finished the 2017 season Wednesday night at home after tying 2-2 with Presbyterian College in overtime.
The men’s soccer team, which ended the season with a 2-15-1 overall record, started the game
strong scoring the first match point in the 19th minute with a strike from Joe Lacasto.
The Bulldogs led the game until the 70th minute when Presbyterian scored an equalizing goal, tying the game at 1-1. UNCA responded 10 minutes later with a goal from defender Brandon Millington off an assist from teammate Kyle Adams to put the Bulldogs up 2-1.
The game was tied back up in the 86th-minute and the score remained the same through both halves of overtime, ending 2-2.
“It was tough, we wanted to leave it all on the field and not have any regrets so we’re alright with the result; obviously we were really pushing for a goal in overtime, but we battled, and we battled to a draw,” said senior Zack Compton after the final game of his collegiate career.
The Bulldogs have struggled to score throughout the season and in the final game scored their 10th and 11th goals.
“The biggest thing for us is that we play really attractive football, but we don’t score enough goals. We finished this season with 11 goals, that’s 10 less than last year and it’s going to always be challenging especially in conference play if you don’t score goals,” said Mathes Mennell, head coach of UNCA’s men’s soccer team.
Despite struggling throughout the season, the Bulldogs finished strong going 1-1-1 in the final three games, only narrowly losing to Campbell University in the closing minutes of overtime and tying with Presbyterian aftrecruitser dominating most of the game.
“I’m not pleased at all with our record, but one thing that’s really awesome about this group is that our guys came to work every day. There could have been a million times where they thought, our record is not good so I’m not going to work hard,” Mennell said. “But they always put the work in and I think that will put them in good standing as they move forward and shows their character as a group.”
After the academic year is over, eight seniors on the men’s soccer team will graduate — depleting both numbers and experience from the roster. However, the Bulldogs are confident about incoming recruits.
“We have a very good class coming in and we have some January enrollees that we’re excited about. We certainly are going to miss our seniors, but we feel that we replaced them with some young players who can hopefully live up to the standard they have set,” Mennell said.
With the 2017 season in the books, Mennell said the team is looking forward to next year and plan to place a considerable emphasis on the offensive side of the ball.
“It’s a loss losing eight seniors, but we have some guys coming in the spring; the guys are local and all know each other so the chemistry will be good. We have to keep the team morale up, obviously the season didn’t go as we planned but we have to move forward next season,” said Adams, a sophomore physics student.
The Bulldog’s next soccer season will start at the beginning of the 2018 fall semester.