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Friday, December 3, 2004

UNCP prepares for soccer final four

The UNC Pembroke men's soccer squad made history Wednesday when the Braves departed for Wichita Falls, Texas, to take part in the 2004 NCAA Division II final four.

UNCP will face off against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Friday at 5:30 p.m. (central time) on the campus of Midwestern State University. The winner earns a bid in Sunday's national championship game against either Seattle University (Wash.) or Dowling University (N.Y.).

After claiming the Peach Belt Conference regular season and tournament crowns, UNCP (16-2) received its second straight NCAA tournament bid in 2004. Pembroke was ranked as high as number four in the national poll this season, and entered the 24-team field as the Southeast region's number one seed. The Braves downed Clayton State by a 2-0 score to earn the regional championship and a spot in the quarterfinals.

UNCP faced the University of Central Arkansas in the quarterfinals. In a hard fought battle that saw both squads narrowly miss scoring opportunities, a late goal by senior Sascha Görres made the difference. The 1-0 win made the Braves the first team in school history to earn a NCAA final four berth.

Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (18-2-2) reached the final four by outlasting Tusculum College, 3-2. The Cougars are ranked second in the NCAA with a 0.57 goals-against average (GAA), and goalkeeper Nicholas Frasca ranks seventh in the NCAA with a 0.62 GAA. He had six shutouts on the year.

The Braves are seventh in the country with 3.11 goals per game. UNCP is led by sophomores Trond Myrland (13 goals, 11 assists) and Mircea Cosac (10 goals, four assists). Görres is second in points with eight goals and nine assists, while freshman goalkeeper Richard Sallin is second in NCAA with a 0.47 goals-against average, including a UNCP single-season record eight shutouts.

Sunday's national championship game is slated for 1:00 p.m. CST. For more information on the Final Four, please visit: http://athletics.mwsu.edu/soccerc/championship.asp.

Görres earns all-America and All-region honors

WITCHITA FALLS, Texas – At the Wednesday NCAA Division II final four banquet, hosted by Midwestern State University in Witchita Falls, Texas, five UNCP soccer players were named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s (NSCAA) All-Southeast Region squad.

Named were Sascha Görres, who also received all-America honors. Görres and Trond Myrland were named to the all-region first team, while Thomas Lindal, Graeme Little, and Sinan Tümkaya made the second team.

Görres now joins Timo Reinkainen, who received the honor in 1992, as the only soccer all-Americans from UNCP. This is the second consecutive year the senior midfielder was named to the all-region squad, in addition to his second All-Peach Belt Conference accolade and being named to the 2004 All-PBC Tournament team. He owns the school record for assists with 28 and scored the dramatic game-winning goal in the 81st minute of the NCAA quarterfinal match against Central Arkansas that sent the Braves to their first ever Final Four appearance. Görres started every game for UNCP this season and contributed eight goals and nine assists.

Junior striker Trond Myrland joins Görres on the all-region first team. The Peach Belt Conference tournament’s most valuable player led UNCP this season in total points (37), with goals (13), assists (11), shots (69) and shots on goal (32).

Thomas Lindal was recognized for the second time as a second team all-region performer. The senior midfielder turned in nine assists this season, and one game-winning goal that gave the Braves their second ever win over conference rival USC-Upstate.

Senior team captain Graeme Little made the all-Southeast region second team. The two-time all-Peach Belt Conference midfielder started every game for the Braves in 2004 and contributed three assists and five goals, including three game-winners.

Senior defender Sinan Tümkaya received second team all-region honors. Tümkaya also earned all-Peach Belt Conference recognition for anchoring the Braves’ defense this season.

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