Braves scalp MOC in DII region battle
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on September 30, 2004 1:57 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive's Erik Small attacked the UNC Pembroke defense, forcing Braves' goalie Richard Sallin to come off of his line late in Wednesday's men's soccer match at Trojan Field.
Small turned, then centered back into the middle, but Pembroke's Sinan Tumkaya recovered to steal the pass and clear it forward. It was that kind of day for the Trojans.
In a Division II clash between two of the top five ranked teams in the Southeast Region, Mount Olive had a handful of strong scoring opportunities but came up short in a 2-0 loss at home to Pembroke.
The Trojans (8-2) -- ranked fifth in the latest NSCAA/Adidas Men's Soccer NCAA II Southeast Regional rankings -- were handed their first loss at home this season. The Braves (7-1), ranked seventh nationally and first in the Southeast, are the first team to shutout Mount Olive at Trojan Field in nearly two years.
Pembroke outshot the Trojans 14-10 on the game, but the shots were even at seven apiece in a physical second half.
"We created some opportunities. We just didn't get as many great looks," Mount Olive coach Jerry Riggs said. "They are very strong and disciplined in the back. On the couple of times we did get a good look, they always got back and got a toe-poke to knock it away.
"They are a good team with good size."
With 10 minutes left in the first half, Mount Olive looked poised to get on the board when Small's corner kick found an unmarked Cory Worrell near the back post. Worrell put a strong head towards goal on the pass, but Sallin was in perfect position to make the save.
On the counter attack, the Braves' John Cooper scored on a cross from Thomas Lindal in the heart of the Trojan defense for the only goal of the first half. Leading up to the goal, the Trojan defense had played consistent and battled through three early Pembroke corner kicks.
Mount Olive posted two more deep attacks before the end of the half.
Pembroke didn't wait near as long to strike in the second half. Just seven minutes in, Lindal saw little pressure near the right midfield and served a long pass down to Cooper, who passed to Rudi Vogl. Vogl took several dribbles and fired near the back post as Trojan goalie Chris Rousch made a diving, glove save.
The ball trickled back into play before Mircea Cosac booted in the follow to give his team a 2-0 lead.
Mount Olive never shied away from the challenge presented by the visitors, who have 14 international players on their roster, including six from Germany.
Trojan midfielder Warren Atkins had a left-footed shot go just wide of the goal shortly after Cosac's strike. Later in the second half, Mount Olive's Charles Williams' header off of a long throw was saved by Sallin, who finished with four saves in Pembroke's third shutout of the season.
"I thought this match might have some weight and it carried a lot of weight," Riggs said. "It was a bunch of international guys playing against the beach boys. They are by far the best team we've played this year."
The second half proved especially physical as the two teams combined for five yellow cards with four issued to the Trojans. A combined 21 fouls were committed.
The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for Mount Olive, which looks to bounce back on Saturday at Belmont Abbey in Carolinas/Virgina Athletic Conference play. Both teams take a 4-0 conference record into the key match.
"We just have to pick it up on Saturday. Right now, there is a three-way tie for first and that's what is important," Riggs said. "Hopefully this makes us a better team. We are disappointed, but we can't shut down right here."
UNC-Pembroke 1 1 -- 2
Mount Olive 0 0 -- 0
UNCP -- Cooper (Lindal, Baytar assist), 35:28
UNCP -- Cosac (Vogl assist), 46:41
14 Shots 10
6 Corner kicks 5
9 Fouls 12
3 Offsides 1
Saves -- UNCP -- Sallan 4. MOC -- Rousch 9.
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