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Braves look to keep building in 2012

By Jonathan Bym
Asst. Sports Editor

August 30, 2012

Photo by Hillary Akers
UNCP's Sid Peterson tracks down the ball from his defender position in a preseason scrimmage against St. Andrews.

After recording one of the best records in the program's history during the 2011 season, the Black and Gold men's soccer team hopes to repeat the success and continue to improve in 2012.

The Braves posted an 11-5-2 overall record and 3-3-2 PBC record last year en route to a berth in the PBC conference semifinals where the Black and Gold fell to Montevallo.

Head coach Phil Hindson enters his third year as the coach for the Braves looking to continue the trend of winning more games than the previous season.

Preseason selection

The Braves were picked to finish fifth in the PBC pre-season coaches' poll, but UNCP looks to do better than a middle of the pack finish in the conference.

Atop the conference poll is last year's conference tournament champion Flagler who was the leading first place vote getter with five.

Both Montevallo, who was last year's conference runner up, and Clayton State tied for second place in the conference.

Lander was voted fourth in the conference receiving 57 votes.

The Braves came in four votes behind to receive fifth place in the conference.

Young Harris was selected sixth.

North Georgia was chosen seventh in the poll after a fourth place finish last year.

USC Aiken, Francis Marion and Georgia Southwestern round out the 10 teams as eighth, ninth and 10th place projections respectively on the conference poll.

2012 season

Photo by Hillary Akers
James Casserly dribbles the ball up the field in a preseason scrimmage against St. Andrews.
UNCP prepares for a season that will have its number of tough opponents. The first comes on Sept. 1 as the Braves will welcome Anderson to the Varsity Grounds for a non-conference matchup.

Anderson was ranked 24th nationally in the preseason NSCAA coaches' poll.

This game will also be the home opener for UNCP.

The Black and Gold open PBC play on the road versus Georgia Southwestern.

Montevallo will be the opponent for UNCP's conference home opener on Sept. 15.

Two weeks later, the Braves will face off with what seems to be the toughest opponent of the season as they take on Flagler who was ranked fifth in the nation in the preseason poll.

The Braves will then play three of the next four matches at home with the one away game versus in-state foe Mars Hill, who was also ranked inside the top 25 nationally in the NSCAA poll.

The last game of that four game stretch comes against PBC newcomer Young Harris as they travel to Pembroke for senior night for the Black and Gold.

To close out the regular season, the Braves will play two away games against Pfeiffer and USC Aiken.

The following week UNCP will open conference tournament play six days later with the first round games being hosted by the higher seed.

The final two rounds will be played at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Ga.

Experience is a factor

The 2012 Recruiting class welcomes 10 new players to Pembroke to play alongside the 15 returning players to give the team both experience and youth on the field.

Of the 15 returners, there is one senior, seven juniors and seven sophomores.

Returning to defend goal for the Braves is junior goalkeeper Ryan Hanson who recorded a total of 51 saves last season. The Cary native recorded a record of 8-5-2 between the pipes last fall.

The defense for UNCP will be anchored by sophomore Sid Peterson and junior Jeff Macdonald. Macdonald is one of the team's captains as well.

In the midfield, the Black and Gold look for Adam Smith, Brett Luccia and Daniel Bougt to continue their stellar play from last year as they all combined for seven goals along with five assists.

To push the pace on offense, UNCP will look for experience by upperclassmen Sam Miles, Martin Tomter and Sean Hoek.

Miles received a number of awards in his first season in the Black and Gold.

As a freshman Miles was named Daktronics All-Region Second-Team, NSCAA All-Region Second-Team and All-PBC First-team.

The conference leader in goals, shots and points was also named PBC Freshman of the Year as well as earning the PBC "Golden Ball" award for excellent play on the field.

To add to his recognitions from last season, Miles was also selected as the PBC's preseason All-Conference team where he was the only member of the Braves selected.

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Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
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