Published: Apr 04, 2007 12:06 PM
Modified: Apr 04, 2007 12:15 PM
The Carolina RailHawks lost 1-0 to the North Carolina mens soccer team on Saturday.
Though the RailHawks are winless in its first two exhibition matches, the effort against the Tar Heels, several players and coach Scott Schweitzer said, was significantly better from the week before, when the Wake Forest mens soccer team humbled them 3-1.
And that is an indication that the first-year club is moving in the right direction.
We played well, and of course we want to win, but were better than we were last week, and thats a huge thing, Schweitzer said.
UNC scored the games only goal on a Scott Campbell penalty kick in the 24th minute.
This week was definitely better, said RailHawks defender Caleb Norkus. Last week was pitiful. We just had a lot of errors and stuff. This week, we were more together. A goal on a penalty kick, thats tough luck. I didnt see exactly what happened. It couldve maybe gone either way.
The backline shored up most of its holes and did not allow a goal during the run of play. David Stokes and Frankie Sanfilippo kept the unit organized and limited the Tar Heels to just a handful of looks at the goal.
Goalkeeper Chris McClellan, who signed a contract with the RailHawks earlier in the week, was fantastic. He made six saves, including an 80th-minute stop on a Michael Callahan penalty kick to keep the score at 1-0, and distributed the ball quickly in order to jumpstart the counterattack.
Carolina was also strong in the midfield, particularly on the outside with Jonny Steele and Marcus Storey and Kupono Low in the middle running the attack.
Though the RailHawks possessed the ball well in the midfield, they lacked fluidity going to goal.
Steele and Storey controlled the outside flanks, but rarely did they have a target in the box when it came time to send the ball in. Carolina defenders David Rodriguez and Andre Sherard also deserve credit for their roles in disrupting the RailHawks attack.
Schweitzer, who continues to tinker with his lineup and find ways to maximize everyones ability, doesnt expect that to remain a problem.
Were trying to learn ourselves offensively, Schweitzer said. We didnt get enough players forward. Thatll change. That comes with getting in a comfort zone with each other.
UNC, playing in its first competitive match of the spring, got on the board in the 24th minute after Stokes took down Tar Heels forward Eddie Ababio in the box.
Stokes clearly tackled Ababio, but the call drew objection from the RailHawks sideline because the ball appeared to bounce up and hit Ababio on the right arm has he tried to get by Stokes. Schweitzer argued that handball gave Ababio position to get around the Carolina defender, but his arguments didnt change anything.
Campbell stepped to the spot and slotted the ball by McClellan for a 1-0 UNC lead.
That goal proved to be the difference on the scoreboard, but the RailHawks still left the field believing theyre making progress.
I think were coming along, McClellan said. Were starting to jell. It showed tonight. One little slip-up, and other than that, it was clean. We didnt give up much. We were organized all around the field, and goals will come eventually.