UNC-Wilmington defeats men’s soccer in first round of NCAA Tournament

Bethany Blass, Staff Writer

The men’s soccer team ended its postseason run with a 2-0 loss to UNC Wilmington in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 20. The teams battled in Wilmington for the chance to move on to the second round of the tournament, with the Seahawks earning that spot.

Despite an injury to defender Zack Rockmore ’16 in the 29th minute, goalkeeper Clarke Fox ’16 had eight saves to keep the Bison in the game the entire time.

“It is obviously disappointing to go down injured and miss the second half, but the team fought hard,” Rockmore said. “It was a great year, and winning a Patriot League Championship is what we set out to achieve from the start. The team bonds so well; it’s like a family, and I think that is something that helped us play so well when it mattered.”

The Bison had a strong defense to keep most of the game scoreless. UNC Wilmington took a 9-1 lead in shots in the first half. Fox was able to keep the squad alive with several impressive saves, including stopping a one-on-one attempt. Still, the Seahawks scored in the 67th minute. Less than two minutes later, they scored again to take the lead.

“We hit our stride in the final weeks of the season, which is all that counts,” Fox said. “Winning the Patriot League Championship, when few people outside of our locker room believed we could, is a testament to the heart and spirit of this team. We were led by a confident coaching staff and a group of seniors that was unwilling to see their careers end in anything but celebration. We embraced our underdog role.”

The game was the seventh NCAA appearance for the Bison and their fourth in just nine years. The Orange and Blue went 4-0-3 in the previous seven games to win the Patriot League title, finishing the season with a 10-10-3 record.

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