FARMVILLE, Va. – The Longwood University men’s soccer team went 1-1 last week to move to 3-7-1 overall and 2-5-1 in Big South Conference matches in 2012. The Lancers earned their first non-conference victory of the season with a 3-1 win at George Washington University on September 29 after falling, 1-0, to Big South foe Campbell at home on Sept. 26. Longwood returns to action on Wednesday, October 3 when the team hosts league opponent Radford at 7 p.m. at the Athletics Complex in Farmville.
Recapping George Washington
The squads were evenly matched in the first half, as both sides notched six shots and two corner kicks in the first 45 minutes. George Washington broke the game open in the 29th minute on a successful penalty kick. Just over seven minutes later, the Lancers retaliated when Jonathan Kukapa|Leesburg (Clarksburg Md.) dished a pass towards the left side of the box for sophomore Anthony Ugorji|Washington, D.C. (Archbishop Carroll), whose one-touch shot found the lower right corner of the net to knot the game at 1-1. The squads traded possessions in the remaining minutes of the half to head into the break still tied at one apiece.
Coming out of halftime, Kukapa scored the go-ahead goal and the eventual game-winner with assists from senior Devin Pierce|Virginia Beach (Ocean Lakes) and Sam Yardley|Fairfax Station (Robinson) in the 56th minute. The Lancers added an insurance goal in the 83rd minute, as Kukapa dribbled down the left side of the field and found freshman Zach Corcoran|Martinsville (Martinsville) open near the right post for the shot and goal to seal the 3-1 victory against the Colonials.
Kukapa notched his second career goal, in addition to a personal-best two assists en route to a career-high four points in the outing. Sophomore goalkeeper Paul Hegedus|Ashburn (Broad Run) recorded the first win of his career in net for Longwood, making three saves in the complete-game performance. Longwood and George Washington each registered 12 shots in the match, while George Washington took a slight, 5-3 advantage in corner kick opportunities. Saturday's contest marked the seventh meeting ever between the Lancers and the Colonials. After Longwood's victory, GW now holds a slim, 4-3 edge in the all-time series.
Head Coach Jon Atkinson on George Washington
“It's sometimes easier to be overly positive on the heels of a victory, but this was indeed a solid, enjoyable performance with plenty of positives for our team. Even after going down a goal in the first half, I was happy with how the boys applied themselves, and if it wasn't going to be our day, it wasn't going to be without playing some good, attractive soccer. Goals are the lifeblood of the game and we showed great character in the first half by coming back, but then we manufactured some excellent chances in the latter part of the second half. I'm glad for the squad, as they have been working so hard and have been improving with every game.”
The teams battled back and forth in the middle of the field early in the game, as neither squad was able to get a shot off until the Camels hit the post on a header in the 19th minute. Longwood had a chance to break the game open several minutes later when senior Adel Sarras|Burke (Annandale) dribbled down the right side and sent a cross towards the net where sophomore Taylor Evans|South Riding (Freedom) was posted to pressure the defense, but the ball slipped out of bounds near the back post. Campbell posted three more shots in the first half before the game was delayed over 20 minutes due to a Longwood injury in the 38th minute of the match. When play resumed, Longwood and Campbell traded possessions until time expired, sending the teams into the break knotted at 0-0.
Coming out of halftime, the Lancers had a chance to get on the board in the 55th minute when a good cross found freshman Mike Durr|Brandon, Miss. (Brandon) inside the box for the redirect, but his shot skidded just right of the net. The stalemate continued through most of the second half, but Campbell's Mitchell Cardenas took control of the ball with just over 30 seconds remaining in regulation and lofted a shot towards the net that hit the crossbar before bouncing off the back of Hegedus and into the goal, securing the slim, 1-0 victory for the Camels. Campbell outshot Longwood, 9-2, in the outing and forced more corner kicks, 6-2. Wednesday's match marked the first meeting ever between Longwood and Campbell in the sport of men's soccer.
Head Coach Jon Atkinson on Campbell
“We can take heart from the fact that we worked hard and looked the most organized that we have all season. To concede with an own goal with seconds to go is a tough pill to swallow, but knowing the character of our lads, I know we will bounce back and continue to improve.”
Lancers Are Live on the Big South Network
Longwood is video streaming three men’s soccer broadcasts this season, including the squad’s next match against Radford on Oct. 3. The Big South Network is the official video provider for all Big South Conference games. Each member institution is required to produce broadcasts for home events to be streamed via the conference network. A paid subscription is required to view live events, with both single-game and season passes available. You can watch all of the Lancers' webcasts and see a schedule of upcoming events by visiting www.longwoodlancers.com or www.bigsouthsports.com.
Big South Conference Attacking Player of the Week
Senior Devin Pierce|Virginia Beach (Ocean Lakes) was recognized as the Big South Conference Attacking Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 11. This honor marks the first-ever Big South men's soccer Player of the Week selection for Longwood. Pierce posted two goals to lead Longwood to a 1-1 record during the week, including its first-ever Big South men's soccer victory. After scoring the team's lone goal against UNC Greensboro on Sept. 4, Pierce notched the game-winner on a penalty kick at UNC Asheville to give the Lancers the 1-0 win on Sept. 9.
Leading the Charge
Kukapa leads the lancers with two goals and three assists for seven points after playing a role in all three of the team’s goals at George Washington. Pierce and Ugorji have added to the offensive effort with five points apiece (2 goals, 1 assist), while Yardley has four points (1 goal, 2 assists) this season. Senior Evan Jones|Midlothian (Midlothian), junior Jared Windt|Haymarket (Battlefield), and freshmen Corcoran and Philip van Berkom|Zetten, The Netherlands (Hendrik Pierson College) each have one goal for two points, while junior Brian Henry|Stafford (Colonial Forge) has one assist.
In the Net
Freshman goalkeeper Carl Carpenter|Charlottesville (St. Anne's Belfield School), who has recorded two wins in net for the Lancers, leads the team with 33 saves in 537+ minutes played. Hegedus, who earned his first career win at GW, has 12 saves and a .632 save percentage in 407+ minutes of action, while freshman Seth Erdman|Hummelstown, Pa. (Lower Dauphin) has four saves in 75+ minutes.
Head coach Jon Atkinson is in his eighth season at the helm of the Lancers program. He is assisted by Eduardo de Souza, who was recently appointed associate head coach. Don Herlan is in his third year as a volunteer assistant coach.
Following the Lancers home contest against Radford on Oct. 3, the squad will travel to George Mason University for a non-conference tilt beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6.