PEMBROKE — Freshman Graham Jermstad opened up the Newberry men’s soccer team’s account on Thursday early in the second half as the Wolves fell 3-1 to the homestanding UNC Pembroke Braves.
“Today’s match was a game of momentum swings,” said Newberry head coach Barry Slagle. “Unfortunately, UNC Pembroke got the better of us in that area.”
Jermstad was one of three Wolves (0-1) to open make their collegiate debut as part of the opening day starting 11, as Jermstad was joined by fellow freshman Michael McPeak and redshirt freshman Tyler Ulichnie.
Newberry looked to strike early against the Braves (1-0) as a corner kick from sophomore Anthony Lucido found the feet of sophomore Mario Stojkoski who saw his first shot of the season careen off the post. The Braves countered Newberry’s early momentum as UNCP tallied a headed goal in the fifth minute. UNC Pembroke doubled its lead in the seventh minute with a goal off a throw in.
Neither team gained further advantage in the opening half as the sides held each other scoreless over the remainder of the opening half.
The second half saw Slagle trot out a new 11, and the new 11 quickly found results. In the 50th minute Newberry sophomore Bennett Murphy suffered a foul by UNC Pembroke’s Ryan Hanson. The foul earned Hanson a yellow card and set-up a Newberry free kick.
Jermstad took advantage of the free kick opportunity and saw his shot kiss the woodwork on its way into back of the net.
A trio of substitutions for the Braves pushed the momentum back in UNC Pembroke’s favor as James Casserly completed the double by netting his second goal of the game in the 53rd minute. Newberry pushed the attack over the remainder of the period, drawing three corner kicks in the span of three minutes in the middle of the second half.
UNC Pembroke managed to wind down the clock on the opening match of the season to secure a 3-1 victory over the Wolves.
“They jumped out to an early two goal lead, right after we hit the post on a corner kick,” Slagle added. “I thought the team responded well in the second half. We scored a goal, but unfortunately UNC Pembroke responded with another goal. We look forward to getting back out there against Belmont Abbey.”
Jermstad’s unassisted goal was his first collegiate tally. The freshman joined Stojkoski with a team-high three shots. Between the posts, senior Patrick Sweatt finished the afternoon with four saves.
The Wolves return to the road on Saturday for a 4 p.m. meeting with the Crusaders of Belmont Abbey.