UNG advances to PBC semifinals behind program’s 2nd hat trick

The UNG men’s soccer team opened up Peach Belt tournament play with a convincing 4-0 win over USC Aiken on Oct. 31 in Dahlonega, while also making some history.

Junior midfielder Ivan Acimovic became only the second Nighthawk in school history to score a hat trick, as he notched three of the team’s four goals in the opening round victory.

Ivan Acimovic settles the ball and looks to find his teammates in the box. Acimovic scored the program’s second hat trick during the Peach Belt Conference quarterfinals in Dahlonega on Oct. 31. (Photo by Drew Hubbard)

The Nighthawks began the match with a sense of intensity, and it paid off early as Acimovic began the scoring in the eighth minute.

“The focus was there in the locker room,” head coach Patrice Parris said. “I didn’t have to say much, the boys knew what was at stake.”

This focus didn’t stop as senior midfielder Michael Akin doubled the home side’s advantage to two in the 10th minute.

Senior Michael Akin (25) makes a run down the field during the PBC quarterfinal. Akin scored in the 10th minute of his final home match for UNG. (Photo by Drew Hubbard)

Acimovic added on to his goal scoring in the 22nd minute. The Serbian was quick to give credit to his team for giving him the chances.

“They gave me the ball in the right moment when I was making the runs,” Acimovic said.

The team would set him up for one last goal in the 70th minute, completing his historic performance.

The program’s only other hat trick came last October when then-senior Eddie Hurst also victimized USC Aiken for three goals in a 6-3 victory.

UNG advanced to the Peach Belt Conference championship for the first time in school history, but fell in penalty kicks to Lander University.

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