GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG men's soccer squad plays the first of its two exhibition matches when its visits NC State, 7 p.m., Tuesday, at Dail Soccer Field.
Led by second-year head coach Justin Maullin, the Spartans return eight starters and 14 letter winners from last season's 12-6-4 squad which captured Southern Conference regular season and tournament titles and made the program's 12th NCAA Tournament appearance in 20 years.
Leading the returnees is junior forward Hakan Ilhan. A first-team all-SoCon selection last year, Ilhan led the conference in nearly every offensive category including goals (12) and points (31).
Tuesday's game also marks the return of senior Kris Byrd to Raleigh. Byrd spent three seasons (2007-09) with the Wolfpack, playing in 40 games after redshirting as a freshman. He earned his undergraduate degree at NC State and is currently enrolled in graduate classes at UNCG's Bryan School. Byrd earned first-team all-SoCon honors in 2010 with the Spartans.
The Wolfpack went 10-8-2 in 2010 in George Tarantini's final season as head coach after 25 years. New head coach Kelly Findley spent the last five seasons at Butler.
Following Tuesday's match the Spartans play their second and final exhibition match when they host UNC Pembroke, 7 p.m., Saturday at UNCG Soccer Stadium. UNCG opens the 2011 regular season by hosting preseason No. 23 Duke, 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 26.
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