UNCG hosts No. 1 North Carolina in Spartans exhibition finale
North Carolina at UNCG, Aug. 28, 7 pm
Greensboro, N.C. (UNCG Soccer Stadium)
Video: Spartan All Access (free)
+ The Spartans take the home pitch on Saturday in their final preseason contest of the 2010 campaign when they host North Carolina. UNCG is coming off a 1-0 win last Saturday night at Duke. The Blue Devils are ranked No. 11 in the NSCAA's preseason poll and No. 15 in College Soccer News.
+ UNCG athletics, in conjunction with UNCG Dining Services, will host the Spartan Restaurant Tailgate for the campus community Saturday night prior to the match. The tailgate, being held as part of Rawkin' Welcome Week on the UNCG campus, will be held in the south end zone area between the UNCG Soccer Stadium and Fleming Gymnasium. Food will be served from 5-7 p.m. and students, faculty and staff are invited to bring cash or their SpartanCard just like they normally would in one of the on-campus dining facilities.
+ North Carolina is ranked No. 2 in the College Soccer News preseason poll, No. 4 in the NSCAA's preseason rankings and, in the latest preseason poll to come out, No. 1 according to TopDrawerSoccer.com.
+ UNCG's Matt Strine scored the lone goal of the match in the 1-0 win over Duke last Saturday. Strine scored with just 2:01 to play to give the Spartans the win. North Carolina beat UNC Wilmington, 1-0, in its first exhibition match last Saturday night in Wilmington. Redshirt freshman Josh Rice scored in the 89th minute off a blast from the top of the box that hit the post and caromed in.
+ UNCG and North Carolina last met in Chapel Hill in 2005, with North Carolina winning in overtime, 1-0. The Spartans topped the Tar Heels at UNCG Soccer Stadium the year before, 1-0, in a victory that helped lift them to a No. 1 national-ranking.
+ UNCG returns just nine players from the 2009 roster, but interim head coach Justin Mallin brought in a strong group of new players to join four returning starters. Goalkeeper Peyton Ford returns between the posts. The midfield should be solid with returnees Will Mack, Cruz Oronos and Matt Strine, a fifth-year senior out of Spring, Texas. Ross Burki transferred into UNCG from Dutchess Community College and will also provide solid experience in the middle.
+ The Spartans hope an offense that has struggled the last two seasons is sparked by the host of new talent, including a pair of brothers. Incoming freshman Duke Garner joins his brother Eli, who has transferred from North Carolina to UNCG. Matt Foxx and Michael Bonilla also return up front.
+ Among the new players this season, the Spartans certainly have an international flavor to them. Oddur Gudmundsson and Fannar Arnasson join the team from Reykjavik, Iceland. Mahdi Ali comes from Helsinki, Finland and was born in Somalia. Hakan Ilhan hails from Stuttgart, Germany.
+ North Carolina features two Hermann Trophy Watch List members. Senior Michael Farfan and junior Billy Schuler are on the list of 39 student-athletes considered to be strong candidates for college soccer's highest individual honor. Farfan, an All-America a year ago, tallied five goals and four assists in 2009 from his midfield position. The Wildomar, Calif., native started all 22 games for the Tar Heels during their run to the College Cup and was also a first-team All-ACC selection. Schuler led the squad with 23 points in 2009 as the Allentown, N.J., product netted nine goals and distributed five assists on the year. Schuler also earned All-America.
+ UNCG will host Charlotte to open the regular season on Wednesday night, while North Carolina will wait until Friday to open the season, hosting the other preseason No. 1-ranked team, Akron, at the Nike Carolina Classic. North Carolina will play one more exhibition on Monday night, facing the USL's Carolina Railhawks at 7 p.m.