ROCK HILL, SC—The Winthrop men’s soccer team looks to rebound from its last minute loss at Longwood over the weekend as it travels to Boiling Springs, NC to take on Gardner-Webb, Wednesday evening at 7 p.m.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs are currently in third in the Big South Conference standings with a 5-3 league mark and 8-6-1 record overall. Winthrop is trying to move its way up the standings as it is currently 3-4 in the conference and 9-5-1 overall. The next victory for Winthrop will be the program’s 400th all-time.
The game will feature the nation’s fourth best offense and league leader Winthrop at 2.27 goals per game while Gardner-Webb is tied for second in the league and 17th in the nation at 1.93 goals per game.
A short-manned Winthrop team played well at Longwood on Oct. 26, taking an early lead and creating several scoring chances but unable to finish them as the Lancers scored twice in the final 20 minutes (including game-winner with 26 seconds left) to hand the Eagles a tough loss.
It will be Winthrop’s second straight game on the road, which seems to be a place Winthrop has been comfortable for most of the season as it is 7-2-1 in games away from Eagle Field. The team averages 2.1 goals per game while allowing 1.10 in 10 games away from home. Freshman Max Hasenstab has five goals and four assists and senior Achille Obougou has five goals and an assist in those games.
Obougou took the team lead over the weekend as he netted his ninth goal of the season and scored for the fourth straight game. Obougou and Hasenstab are closing in on 10 goals, which hasn’t been reached since 2009 when Matthew Skonicki scored 13.
Hasenstab has missed the last two games and his return Wednesday night is questionable. Senior Adam Brundle, junior Cody Winter, sophomore Kyle Kennedy and freshman Pietro Bottari are all questionable to return Wednesday.
Sophomore Fabian Broich has done a good job in goal since taking over for starter Guilherme Avelar. He had a stretch of 218 minutes and 22 seconds without allowing a goal before Longwood tied the match in the 70th minute. He’s 2-2 on the year with a 1.26 goals against average and .778 save percentage.
Gardner-Webb has won four straight games and in the process has outscored its opponents 15-2 in that span. A big part of that has been the play of junior Denzel Clark, who has 10 goals in the last seven games. He recorded a hat trick against Presbyterian College and another against UNC Asheville.
Senior Marius Hammersmark is second on the team in scoring from his defensive position with five goals and two assists while sophomore Ali Al-Gashamy is third on the team with four goals and six assists.
For all but 17 minutes and 43 seconds, the Runnin’ Bulldogs have been anchored defensively by freshman Matthew Swan in goal as he is 8-6-1 with a 1.25 goals against average and has three shutouts on the year (all three at home).
This will be the 19th time the two teams have met as the Eagles lead the all-time series 13-3-2 and won last year’s meeting in Rock Hill in double-overtime, 2-1. Winthrop is 4-0-1 against Gardner-Webb in the regular season since it joined the Big South in 2008, but is just 1-2 in the conference tournament. Winthrop lost its last visit to Gardner-Webb, 2-1 in the opening round of the Big South Tournament.