East Tennessee State men’s soccer team went to battle with UNCG Tuesday in their SoCon season opener with hopes of winning on their home field.
Despite double overtime, neither team was able to execute down the stretch given their opportunities. It was a physical game throughout with a bloody nose and fouls being high at the end of the match.
In the first half, UNCG did a good job of putting pressure on the Bucs’ defense, keeping the ball on the Bucs’ side of the field while sitting deep back on defense to slow down the Bucs attack on offense.
As the first half neared the end, the Bucs’ ball movement really got going, allowing them to play field position and get penetration. However, when the Bucs were up for a shot, they were not able to execute.
In the second half, the Bucs’ offense did a good job of playing field position, not hurting themselves with unnecessary shots at the goal that would put them in a bad position to get back on defense.
As the second half went on, fatigue had clearly hit both teams. UNCG went deep in their rotation to give their starters a breather as the game went on. For the Bucs, they did not have the luxury, as injuries have caused them to play starters for longer periods. In this match the Bucs had six players play over 100 minutes.
At the end of the second half, the Bucs and UNCG were both scoreless, leading them to sudden death overtime. In the first overtime, UNCG had many opportunities to score, but the Bucs’ defense remained strong. With UNCG committed to keeping extra defenders to protect the goal, the Bucs’ offense could not get much going.
At the end of the first overtime, both teams remained scoreless. By the second overtime, fatigue had finished both teams, causing both to leave the pitch with a tie game and only receive one point.
“I think we ran out of legs at the end. We were fortunate UNCG did not execute their chance at the end of the second overtime,” Head Coach Bo Oshoniyi said. “UNCG came in here for a tie. I think a lot of teams are going to come in here and do the same.”
With their first SoCon game out the way, the Bucs know they have things to improve.
“I feel really good about our team. We’re getting battle-tested,” said Oshoniyi. “We have Wofford next since we lost two points here. We have to go there and make that up.”
The Bucs will be playing on the road against Wofford on Saturday.