ELON, N.C. - After falling behind by a pair early, UNCG men's soccer succumbed to a 3-0 loss this Wednesday, while facing off with hosting Elon.
The Spartans got off to a slow start on Wednesday night, allowing the Phoenix to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes. UNCG upped the pressure in the remaining minutes of the first half however, drawing four corners and delivering four shots on target before the break. The Spartans would outshoot the Phoenix 5-4 in the first 45, but Elon's early goals would hold out till half time as the side maintained a two-goal lead into the second.
UNCG continued to create opportunities in the latter half but were unable to cut into the Phoenix lead in the early stages of the second. Both Albert Pedra and Faisal Almubaslat would draw scoring opportunities in the opening fifteen minutes of the second, with Pedra's off-balance shot touched over the crossbar by the Elon keeper and Almubaslat's shot from the edge of the 18 going just wide of the post.
"As bad as the first half was, and we were all pretty disappointed, even down two to nil at halftime, it's all about that third goal," said Head Coach Chris Rich. "If you get that third goal and it's 2-1, the game changes at all levels. I think the first 15-20 minutes [of the second half] we gave a very good effort, I felt the boys were competing and we had a couple of half-chances to potentially make it 2-1, unfortunately we got caught in the run of play, made a mistake at the back and they made it 3-0... We just had to try and get back into the game at that point, but it was tough."
With the Spartans unable to capitalize on their chances, the door remained open for Elon to increase their lead, going on to do so in the 62nd. Coach Rich's side refused to roll over however, responding to the home team's third goal of the night with continued pressure. Forward Micah Albert and freshman Matthew Skinner both saw headed opportunities go just wide of the post in the final 20 minutes, as the Spartans pulled the trigger four times after the 70th.
The Spartans' attempts at cutting the Elon lead would ultimately come up empty, as the hosting Phoenix held onto a 3-0 win.
Three Things To Know
-- Almubaslat tied for a match-high with four attempts at net on Wednesday night, three of which reached target
-- Junior Manny Apau received his first start since the Spartans' opener against George Washington, playing primarily at striker
-- The Spartans committed just two fouls on the night overall, in comparison to nine from the Phoenix
The Spartans continue their in-state road tilt, traveling to Davidson for a 7 p.m. matchup next Tuesday. UNCG holds an 18-8-2 record against the Wildcats all-time, and are 6-1-1 against the side since 2005
-- UNCG –