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DAHLONEGA, GA - The North Georgia men's soccer team improved their conference record last week to 2-0 after a 3-2 defeat of UNC Pembroke on Saturday evening. The Saints scored their highest total of the season in recording three goals. Jamie Gleeson, Zachry Samples and Max Angel all scored in the victory.
Being 2-0 in conference to start the season is uncharted territory for the Saints and Pat Parris in recent memory. North Georgia is one of only three teams in the Peach Belt not to have a loss in conference play this far into the season.
The Saints must now prepare for the University of Montevallo this coming Saturday, but not before they host Alabama-Huntsville in a non-conference matchup on Tuesday evening.
University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers
Current Record: 4-2
2010 Record: 4-13 (2-3 GSC)
Conference Prediction in 2011: 3rd
Goal Differential in 2011: +12
First Road Test: How many teams can say they played their first six games of the season in their own backyard? Answer. Alabama-Huntsville. The Chargers have yet to play a road game this season having played their first six contests on their home turf. UAH finished a poor 2-6 on the road last season, with one of those wins coming against Peach Belt member Georgia Southwestern late last year. The Chargers have played well at home to start the season, but how quickly Huntsville adapts to the change of scenery and atmosphere will determine their quality of play Tuesday afternoon.
Charging Ahead: UAH beat down the last two Peach Belt members they played this past week. The Chargers downed the 11th-ranked Montevallo Falcons last Wednesday, 3-1, a team projected near the top of the PBC this year. UAH then faced a struggling Georgia Southwestern squad that was outmatched in a 5-0 drubbing on Saturday. Huntsville could build up a nice resume if they come to Dahlonega on Tuesday and take down another Peach Belt squad.
Hometown Hero: Chargers newcomer Kyle Simmons has stormed out of the gate this season scoring seven goals in the first six games of his collegiate career. Just a freshman, Simmons is a local from Huntsville and looks to be a promising addition as well. So far so good, it would appear that UAH has found a promising scoring threat for the next few years.
Keeping Momentum: The Saints have won three of their last four and are looking to keep the momentum building. It may be more important now than at any point this season with a couple of key conference games on the horizon. The Saints hope to play well against the Chargers in order to boost their confidence heading into two huge road contests against Montevallo and Clayton State. North Georgia is off to a great start in conference play and will now be tested once again. Huntsville will be a great test for the Saints.
Dahlonega Dominance: North Georgia has won their first two home regular season games along with an exhibition home-opener. Bringing in Huntsville will be a tough task, but staying perfect at home and building a home field advantage is always beneficial. The Saints have five home games remaining and if they play well and win them all, they will be right near the top of the standings come tournament time.
Finding Chemistry: Saints head coach Pat Parris has found a lineup and rotation that is playing very well together. Shuffling around the starters and attack has worked out well for Parris. Finding solid defenders like Zachry Samples, Ben Tayi, Chris Bishop, Payne Wright and Chris Griffith has been equaling wins. Building rocks in front of the wall that is Rade Tanaskovic has sparked recent success. With Max Angel, Jesy Phelps, Manuel Hernandez and the reliable Juan Hurtado and Gustavo Cunha, the midfield play has elevated its game. Uncovering dependable subs like Jamie Gleeson and Mikki Bozickovic has also given Parris a go-to option off the bench. If this North Georgia squad keeps gelling and finds the right chemistry, the Saints should be a very promising team to watch.