UNCW Edged By SMC, 1-0, In Men's Soccer
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Gerardo Mendoza's first goal of the season, early in the first half, proved to be the difference as Saint Mary's held off host UNCW, 1-0, on Friday in the UNCW/Hilton Garden Inn Classic at the UNCW Soccer Stadium.
The win pushed SMC's record to 2-1-2 on the season while the Seahawks saw their mark dip to 2-3-1.
The Gaels, who reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA College Cup in 2011, were able to capitalize on a UNCW foul in the 17th minute, just outside the penalty area, for the game's lone goal. Jose Cabeza sent a low cross into the penalty area where Mendoza was able to get a head on the ball and redirect it past Seahawk goalkeeper Brandon Bolen from seven yards out. It was Cabeza's first assist on the season.
The Seahawks were able to apply pressure in the first 20 minutes of the game as Jamie Dell threatened with a run in the opening minute only to be denied by a sprawling Andre Rawls, who finished with six saves for the Gaels. Dell again had an opportunity to get UNCW on the board, this time in the fifth minute, only to be denied by Rawls, who was able to gather in a shot headed for the back post from the right side.
UNCW pushed in the final 15 minutes of the contest in a driving rain, but Rawls was able to come up with another key save, this time on a shot from the middle of the penalty area by Thomas Driver in the 81st minute.
Bolen finished with three saves for UNCW as both teams matched each other with 10 shots. SMC did hold a 7-5 advantage in corner kicks.
In the tournament opener, Appalachian State improved to 4-1-1 with a 1-0 blanking of Binghamton (2-4-0). Patrick Harrow's goal off a free kick from 22 yards out on the right side was the game winner coming in the first half. ASU's Danny Free made five saves in posting the clean sheet.
The UNCW/Hilton Garden Inn Classic concludes on Sunday with Saint Mary's playing Appalachian State at 11:30 a.m. followed the Seahawks and Binghamton at 2 p.m. There will be a third game on Sunday, not as part of the tournament, when UNCW's women's team tackles long time rival East Carolina at 7 p.m.