It was a wet battle at Summers-Taylor Stadium on Sunday as the Bucs took on the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs.
Coming off a tremendous 1-0 win in extra time against No. 1 UNC, the Bucs rode a wave of momentum to get them the 1-0 win at home.
Everything is starting to connect with the defense, and according to Head Coach Bo Oshoniyi that is where it all starts. The past two games have been shutouts, impossible without the saves from sophomore goalkeeper Jonny Sutherland (Chester, U.K.) and the solid back line.
Sutherland made three crucial saves to keep the Bucs on a shutout streak, earning him his third of the season and eighth overall. The back line’s Chase Clack (Memphis, Tenn.) scored the only goal against the Bulldogs.
It was not only the goal of the game, but it was Clack’s first collegiate goal ever as a junior in the program.
“We’ve been working on the same set piece,” Clack said. “I told Cam Woodfin right before the game that if he put it back post I would put it in the goal.”
On a free kick given in the last minutes of the first half, Woodfin sent the ball to Clack where his header sealed the 1-0 lead.
Clack commented on how well the back line has been with communication and getting more familiar with one another, an important aspect to keep in mind as they only have one more game before conference starts.
“If we can continue this into conference we’re going to be dangerous,” Clack said.
Clack earned a spot on the College Soccer News Team of the week due to his defensive performance in the upset game against UNC as well as his performance against UNC-Asheville.
Oshoniyi is recognizing that the players are starting to get what is needed from them, and going into the last non-conference game, he is trying to find-tune everything they have worked on.
In this game, there were multiple goal-scoring opportunities that could have changed the score from 1-0 to 3-0, but the Bucs weren’t able to capitalize.
Fletcher Ekern (Knoxville, Tenn.), the golden goal shooter in the game against UNC, had two shots on goal in the first half but couldn’t get it to fall.
“We’re looking to have more attacking-minded possession in the attacking third in order to have more mature chances,” Oshoniyi said.
The Bucs will play at No. 20 University of Kentucky on Sept. 21, and the next week will start conference play against Furman.