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    No. 20 Wolfpack Roars Past UNCG 3-1

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    GREENSBORO, N.C. - No. 20 NC State kept its perfect record intact with a hard fought 3-1 victory on the road at UNC Greensboro Friday night.

    Alex Martinez scored twice, raising his total to four on the year. Zabarle Kollie provided the difference-maker in the 36th minute, and assisted on Martinez's second goal in the 69th. Jonathan Ray contributed a pair of assists, both on goals in the first half.

    The Wolfpack (5-0) equals the 1987 team's season-opening win streak. The 1982 squad marks the last at NC State to enjoy a better start.

    State landed the first blow in the 12th minute on Martinez's goal. The junior transfer beat his man in a one-on-one situation on the right side, before ripping a shot to the left half of the goal. The score was set up by Ray's assist on a massive cross from the far side of the field.

    UNCG attacked constantly in the following minutes, but the Wolfpack defense rose to the challenge, holding off the Spartans at every turn.

    "You have to be able to defend sometimes and not break," said NC State head coach Kelly Findley. "Tonight, we did that in the first half. I thought we deserved a shutout, so I'm a little disappointed for Fabian [Otte] and the back line, because I thought they deserved it."

    Once State finally wrangled another possession, Kollie came through to put the Pack in control. On a free kick, Kollie sent a header toward the net, but it found the crossbar. Moments later, State won a ball at midfield and Ray provided Kollie another chance. This time, Kollie delivered, soaring for a header to push NC State ahead 2-0 going into the half.

    The Wolfpack turned up the pressure in the early goings of the second half, but wasn't rewarded until the 69th minute on another brilliant play by Kollie. As UNCG's goalkeeper tried to track down a loose ball near the top of the box, Kollie hustled to take it away, then sent a pass back to Martinez, who ripped a shot into the open net.

    The Spartans finally answered in the 78th minute when Hakan Ilhan dropped a free kick from near the top of the box into the top left corner of the Wolfpack goal. That score marked only the second allowed by the Pack defense in its last 288 minutes of play, and third on the year.

    "This win says a lot about our growth as a program and as a team," said Findley. "UNCG's a very good team, this is a hard place to play, and to come in and get a win was great for us. We talk about playing to our standard regardless of venue. I thought we did that tonight."

    NC State returns to action Sunday, September 9 when Marist visits Dail Soccer Stadium at 5 p.m. Live stats will be provided by GoPack.com. Fans can follow Twitter updates from @PackMensSoccer.

    "We were able to rotate a lot of players on, and got some leadership from our junior class," said Findley. "Now it comes down to our concentration tomorrow as we prepare for Sunday."


     

     

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