The Bulldogs (2-6-3, 1-1-1 BSC) are looking for their first win over Winthrop on the road since the 1009 season. The Eagles ended a seven-game losing streak with a 1-0 win at VMI on Saturday. Winthrop (4-7-0, 1-1-0 BSC) is playing its first home match in close to a month as the Eagles played their last eight matches on the road.
"Winthrop has lost a lot of close matches. They have a good team and are well-coached," admitted Bulldog coach Matt Kern. "It is going to be a very tough match to try and win. We're going to have to be at our best to have a chance tonight."
Don't be surprised if tonight's match goes to overtime. The Bulldogs last four matches have gone to overtime with Asheville going 1-1-2 in those contests. Asheville is coming off a 1-1 tie with High Point at home on Saturday.
"We're playing pretty good soccer against a tough schedule," stated Kern. "We would like to turn a few of these close matches into victories."
Senior forward Bryan Bartels has been hot as of late with goals in three straight games. He leads Asheville with five goals and nine points. Senior midfielder Jake Hagedorn is right behind him with four goals and nine points.
Senior goalkeeper Lassi Hurskainen has been phenomenal. He earned Big South Defender of the Week honors for the second straight week after making 24 saves in two matches last week, including a near upset of #3 ranked UNC Chapel Hill where the Bulldogs lost 2-1 in overtime. And Lassi's latest video - Angry Birds - has been featured on ESPN and mentioned on Good Morning America.
"I am so glad Lassi is getting some recognition for the year he's having for us," declared Kern. "He has really been good this season. "
UNC Asheville is 1-0-2 at home this year.
Four of the last five matches between Winthrop and Asheville have been one-goal affairs. The Bulldogs slipped past the Eagles last season, 1-0 at Greenwood Field.
Five of Asheville's last six matches have gone to overtime.
Lassi Hurskainen leads the nation in saves per game with a 7.36 per game average.