Men’s soccer battles NCAA, Division II UNC-Pembroke to 0-0 draw

March 31, 2016

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — The final 10 minutes of Patrick Henry Community College’s (PHCC) men’s soccer spring exhibition match Wednesday (Mar. 30) against NCAA, Division II UNC-Pembroke had the feel of a conference championship.

In a competitive, high-intensity 90 minutes under the lights at the Smith River Sports Complex in Martinsville, Va. the two teams battled to a respectable 0-0 draw. It was a match that saw plenty of scoring chances and hard fouls as neither side played like it was a spring friendly.

For PHCC head coach Enda Crehan the match presented the type of atmosphere and challenge he was looking for as his squad opens a mini spring schedule in preparation for the 2016 fall season.

“UNC-Pembroke is a good side that competes in the Peach Belt which is a good conference. We had a goal called back, missed a penalty and they had their share of chances so I thought it was a fair result, 0-0,” Crehan said. “It was a great first test for the spring and result especially when we’re playing a team that has several scholarship players.”

The Patriots had a great chance to crack the scoreboard first near the 20-minute mark as sophomore James Lee (Prince William, Va.) bended a perfectly placed shot inside the left post from the right channel of the penalty box. The goal, however, was disallowed ruled offsides, much to the chagrin of Crehan. Inside the closing minutes, Anderson University bound Cameron Emerson drew a penalty kick, taken by January newcomer Sami Afuni (Brisbane, Australia). Afuni couldn’t convert the spot kick, lacing the shot over the crossbar.

Despite the miss, Afuni along with a host of returning players had good showings, Crehan said. Ben Banaghan (Tripperary, Ireland) played strong in the midfield and presented good pace going forward. Outside back Graham Holley (Roanoke, Va.) and center back Daly Tucknott (London, England) anchored a stout defense that faced sporadic pressure by Pembroke. Returning goalkeeper Gabriel Rodriguez (Sao Paolo, Brazil) made a series of key saves, as well, including several over the final minutes without allowing a rebound.

“I was happy seeing some of our guys perform and this just helps expose our program. We tied a Peach Belt side and this shows that we have players that can compete at that level,” Crehan said.

The Patriots continue their spring schedule with a collection of 30-minute games this weekend at the UNC-Greensboro round robin, which includes a match against a club team from Frankfurt, Germany. They’ll conclude the spring schedule with a trio of 30-minute games at Ferrum College on Apr. 16 which also includes Roanoke College and VMI.

Filed under: Men's Soccer