UNC-Pembroke 1, University of Central Arkansas 0



PEMBROKE, NC -- For the first time in UNC Pembroke men's soccer history, the Braves are headed to the NCAA Division II Final Four. UNCP advanced on Saturday night with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the University of Central Arkansas at the Irwin Belk Athletic Complex. Sascha Görres' unassisted goal with just under ten minutes remaining proved to be the deciding factor, as the Braves will now travel to Wichita Falls, Texas to compete for the national championship.

The first half saw both squads battle to create scoring opportunities, with each team getting off seven shots in the period. UNCP's Richard Sallin made three saves, while UCA keeper Ian Goodman recorded two.

On the contrary, the second half was full of excitement. UNCP had an early opportunity on a 2-on-1 breakaway, only to see Trond Myrland's shot sail high over the goal. The Braves nearly gave up an own-goal just minutes later, but the Bears were called for a foul in the box.

UCA narrowly missed getting on the board again in the 65th minute, but Sallin made a spectacular save that, in hindsight, may have saved the game and given UNCP momentum. The Bears also had a shot ricochet off of the crossbar.

With both teams unable to put a ball in the back of the net, Görres took the game in his own hands.

At 80:49, Pembroke's Tommy Lindal crossed a ball to Görres in the box. The talented senior then used a series of fancy footwork to fake out a UCA defender, then blasted a shot past Goodman for the eventual game-winner. Ten minutes later, it was time to celebrate.

"I saw the defender coming and was able to make a good fake," said Görres. "These games are so even, you have to make the few shots you have."

Sallin finished with five huge saves in goal for the Braves. When asked if he felt the pressure of being a freshman, he answered, "My high school conference was very competitive, so I've dealt with pressure before."

UNCP will now face off in the national semifinals against the winner of Tusculum College and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. The Final Four is scheduled for December 3rd, with the national championship game slated for the 5th.

Said UNCP's Lindal, "I can't describe how it feels to get to go to Texas, but we're still not happy. We've still got two more steps, and we'll take those one at a time."

-- Courtesy UNC Pembroke