As the Nighthawks entered halftime, tied 1-1, head coach Patrice Parris appeared a bit more animated than usual as he tried to encourage his team.
The result, a four-goal explosion, including a span of three goals in nine minutes, lead his team to a victory over Flagler College on Saturday, Sept. 30.
“The halftime conversation we had today was the fact of, when we bring players off the bench, we have to make sure that the tempo doesn’t drop and that we continue playing at a high, elite level,” Parris said. “I think we saw that in the second half. In the second half we made some of those adjustments and obviously capitalized on those goal-scoring chances and opened up the game.”
The Nighthawks changed the tempo immediately, scoring just four minutes into the half as forward Alex Grant applied pressure and struck for his fifth goal of the season, putting UNG back on top.
“There’s nothing better than scoring on your home pitch in front of your fans,” Grant said.
Just one minute of play later, the Nighthawks struck again, this time off of a corner kick.
Abreu provided just what Parris called for, coming off the bench and providing the ability and pace of a starter. The freshman helped create several chances, including the assist on the Davis header and a goal of his own just eight minutes later to put the team up 4-1. The depth coming off the bench, which allows the Nighthawks to keep the pressure on the opposing defense all game, has contributed a great deal to the team’s success this season.
“It’s such a big help having pace and quickness on the wing,” Grant said. “All the boys have played fantastic this year and I hope we continue the form that we have.”
After conceding a goal that reduced UNG’s lead to 4-2, the Nighthawks applied the pressure once again, as Grant made a run on goal before being taken down in the box, forcing a penalty kick and the sending off of a Flagler defender. The penalty was converted by Carl Ludwig Eriksson, stretching the lead back to three goals.
The Nighthawks conceded one final goal, but managed onto hold the lead through the 90th minute for the victory. The win put the team at 5-4 for the season with a 2-1 record in Peach Belt Conference play.