No. 9 Seahawks edge UNC Asheville 3-2 to close out invitational


Noah Powers/The Seahawk

No. 9 Emil Elveroth

Lanre Badmus, Staff Writer

The UNC Wilmington men’s soccer team may have begun another win streak on Sunday afternoon with a narrow 3-2 victory over UNC Asheville to close out the UNCW SpringHill Suites Classic.

The no. 9 Seahawks (5-1) needed to bounce back after their 2-1 loss to Fairfield on Friday night, and they started on track in the 6thminute after Huntley Munn’s 20-yard drive flew into the top-right corner. It was the senior defender’s first career goal for UNCW.

The game would then go into halftime all square after Bulldogs forward Taylor Durall brought them back on level terms. Seahawks goalkeeper Ryan Cretens had initially saved a shot from Asheville junior defender Kyle Adams, but the redshirt freshman Durall was there to steer the rebound home.

Their goal was perhaps a just reward for the momentum having swung into Asheville’s favor a few minutes prior, and they almost went into the break with the lead, but Cretens thwarted a shot from freshman midfielder Izaiah Vignali after a passing team move.

UNCW then put the pressure back on UNCA (1-5) after the restart, and a Phillip Goodrum was cleared off the line five minutes after the break. However, the junior forward would capitalize on another header five minutes later from a Danny Reynolds corner, and the Seahawks retook the lead in the 55thminute with Goodrum’s third goal of the season.

UNCW would then make it 3-1 after 64 minutes after sophomore forward Emil Elveroth picked the ball up for a long run past Asheville defenders and finished for his fourth goal of the season.

The Bulldogs were then handed a lifeline three minutes from the end after Vignali dispatched a penalty, but the Seahawks held on for the victory in a free-flowing contest that saw a total of 30 shots between both schools on a scorching Port City afternoon.

“I thought in the first half we did a really good job,” said Seahawks coach Aidan Heaney postgame. “We moved the ball, I thought the game plan was very good.”

Heaney went on to say how the equalizer gave UNC Asheville some impetus and made the game difficult with their effort.

“We were glad to get two goals in the second half, but we definitely made it a little harder for ourselves than we would’ve liked,” Heaney said.

“Any time you come off a loss, you want to bounce back right away,” said Goodrum. “We got a chance to do that two days later…in the end we came together and got the win, and that’s what matters.”

“It felt really good,” Munn said of his goal. “I’m a senior, so I’ve been waiting for it…I was excited and I’m glad the team was there with me.”

Asheville midfielder Vignali spoke of his team’s heart and battle postgame.

“We came out ready to fight, and it was a good, fast-paced game,” Vignali said. “We did what we could and tried our best…we came back [after the opening goal] and fought hard, and I’m really proud of the way our team performed against the no. 9-ranked team in the nation.”