Winthrop University

Winthrop men's soccer rolls past UNC Asheville

Winthrop senior Patrick Barnes, right, and UNC Asheville sophomore Zach Compton go for the ball during their quarterfinal match Tuesday at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill.
Winthrop senior Patrick Barnes, right, and UNC Asheville sophomore Zach Compton go for the ball during their quarterfinal match Tuesday at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill.

Winthrop’s Patrick Barnes produced “probably one of the nicest” goals he’s ever scored Tuesday night.

Barnes’ half-volley missile gave Winthrop a 1-0 halftime lead, before Magnus Thorsson’s overhead kick in the 49th minute doubled the lead. The result was done and dusted when Max Hasenstab fired in with about 11 minutes left for a 3-0 win that ended UNC Asheville’s season at Manchester Meadows Tuesday night in the Big South Conference men’s soccer tournament quarterfinals.

Winthrop attacked the first half with vigor, buzzing into tackles and chasing the ball in every corner of the pitch. The heightened urgency carved out a couple early chances for Winthrop, German duo Marco Gatzke and Max Hasenstab blasting over the goal from promising attacking positions.

Winthrop continued to turn the screw, forward Jordan Stoddart, playing on the right of an attacking trio, firing a low shot off the left post. The higher-seeded Eagles didn’t have to wait long to grab the lead. Hasenstab’s corner in the 19th minute was cleared as far as Barnes, whose half-volley connection was sweet, the ball whistling into the top right corner of the goal for a 1-0 lead.

“I was pretty happy to get that one,” said Barnes. “Magnus (Thorsson) was kind of in the way and I just yelled at him to get out of the way and just hit it. Got a perfect hit on it.”

Barnes and Stoddart each had chances early in the second half to stretch the lead. Rock Hill High grad Charles Coulson did well to flick on a long clearance into Barnes’ path, but in on goal one-on-one, Barnes fired into the keeper’s leg. Stoddart then blasted a shot straight at the keeper, beaten away for the corner kick on which Thorsson reached into his bag of tricks for a sweet second goal.

“Yeah, you needed that,” said Winthrop coach Rich Posipanko. “That sort of ended it right there.”

Hasenstab still had time to snatch a third. The Eagles will meet Campbell, which snatched a late 3-2 win over Longwood, in the semifinal Friday in Greensboro.

TURNING POINT

Thorsson’s goal four minutes into the second half effectively buried Asheville. Winthrop nearly scored moments before as a corner kick bounced around in the box, before Thorsson flung his leg up in the air to bury the loose ball from close range for a 2-0 lead.

CRITICAL

Asheville led Winthrop 2-0 during the teams’ regular season matchup, before the Eagles scored three straight in the second half for a 3-2 overtime win. There was no such drama Tuesday night. Winthrop came out of the gate with a positive tempo, pressing the Bulldogs defensively and largely bossing possession.

“We wanted to come out right from the beginning and press them and play hard,” said Posipanko.

STAR CONTRIBUTOR

Goal aside, Barnes played well in the middle of the park for Winthrop, along with Gatzke, the Eagles’ possession metronome. Centerback pairing Kyle Kennedy and Jordi Lluch kept a vacuum-sealed back line en route to the Eagles’ fifth clean sheet of the season, and second straight. Coulson was also effective up front, a constant menace to the Bulldogs’ defenders.

OVERHEARD

“Barnes is good for one of those a year,” said Posipanko.

ON DECK

Winthrop faces Campbell at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon at Bryan Park in Greensboro, N.C.

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