WACO, Texas – The University of North Carolina at Pembroke made history on Thursday with a nationally televised upset victory over then-No. 5 Winston-Salem State, and Monday the team was rewarded with a No. 23 ranking in the latest top 25 poll by the American Football Coaches Association.
It’s the fifth time in six years that UNCP has made an appearance in at least one regular season top 25 poll and the highest ranking since the Braves hit No. 14 in Sept. 2010. The Braves were most recently ranked last October, when they were No. 24 in the poll.
Valdosta State, whom the Braves will visit on Nov. 7, collected 29 of 32 first place votes to remain No. 1 in this week’s ranking. Four other teams from NCAA Super Region II – No. 11 Carson-Newman, No. 12 West Alabama, No. 19 Tuskegee, and No. 22 North Alabama – are also ranked in the latest release. Winston-Salem State dropped 15 spots to No. 20.
The football team continues its season Saturday when it visits Fayetteville State for the fifth-annual Two Rivers Classic. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Luther Jeralds Stadium.
Men’s soccer nabs PBC honors
After opening up the 2013 regular season with a 2-0 record in regional action during the week, the UNCP men’s soccer team was awarded twice by the Peach Belt Conference. Senior co-captain Jeff MacDonald was been named PBC Defensive Player of the Week and senior Ryan Hanson was been named PBC Goalkeeper of the Week, the league office announced Monday afternoon.
Hanson went 2-0 in the Braves’ first two games, playing all 180 minutes and recording five total saves. The senior gave up one goal to Newberry on a free kick just outside the box as UNCP won 3-1. He followed it with his first shutout of the season against Mars Hill.
Hanson had two saves against Mars Hill, the defending South Atlantic Conference champions, in a close 1-0 game, and is currently fourth in the PBC in save percentage and fifth in goals allowed average.
It is seventh time the Apex native has earned the award in his career.
MacDonald led Braves defense that held its first two opponents to six shots on goal and contributed on offense with three assists. The senior made an art of the corner kick, getting all three of his PBC-leading assists from the set play on kicks to fellow defender James Casserly.
The duo hooked up twice in a 3-1 win against Newberry and again in a 1-0 win over Mars Hill. On defense, MacDonald and the Braves allowed only the one goal on a set play just outside the box.
It is the second time the Auburn, Mass., native has earned the award in his career. The Braves play at No. 12 Wingate on Wednesday.
Men’s golf leads Anderson Invitational
Senior Michael Mullmann matched a career-best with an opening-round 5-under-par 67 to pace four golfers with cards of 76 or better and lead the UNC Pembroke men’s golf team to a 6-stroke lead after day one of the Anderson (S.C.) Invitational on Monday.
Mullmann scored seven birdies and one eagle to take a two-stroke lead against the rest of the 48-man field entering today’s final round. Pembroke native and former Robeson County Champion Ian Locklear shot a 1-over-par 73 and to finish the round in a five-way tie for fourth. Trent Cloninger and Riley Davis are in a seven-way tie for 13th place after a 4-over-par 76.
The Braves are shooting a collective 4-over-par 292 and lead North Greenville by six strokes.