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Nighthawks Soccer Kicks Off the Season


On Sept. 10, University of North Georgia kicked off the fall semester with the men’s and women’s soccer teams playing on UNG’s Soccer Field at Lynn Coltrell Park in Dahlonega, Georgia. These games honored the annual Operation Nighthawks of Honor and Military Appreciation celebration. 

The men’s soccer team started off the home opener for the 2022 Peach Belt Conference in this double header event. They were up against the Lakers from Clayton State University.

The Lakers and the Nighthawks dueled it out to see who got to control of the ball and the entirety of the game. Lakers set the tone early, scoring in the first half of the game in two minutes and forty-nine seconds. Midfielder ,Geo Rios, found the opportunity to score the first goal after being assisted by Alexis Iturria, another midfielder.  

Despite the Lakers getting the first score of the game, the Nighthawks kept up with the pressure, and they were able to make their own goal three minutes later. Santiago Gimenez, a defender, converted a penalty kick. 

Nighthawks’ Santiago Gimenez, no. 8, is rushing to get to the soccer ball first before Lakers’ Vic Delgado Miller, no. 24, and midfielder, gets to it. Photo by Rebecca Ansley

Lakers’ Issac Pimenta, a forward, scored the second goal for their team in the second half of the game. Even though they increased their speed, the Nighthawks are not able to score another goal or have an upper hand. 

The final score was 2-1, leaving the Lakers a successful win and the Nighthawks a loss. 

“Two conference teams battling for three points, and the team with the veteran experience proved to get the points today versus a team learning on the go throughout the season.”- Patrice Parris, Head Coach of University of North Georgia men’s soccer team 

Harrison Wright, a senior right wing back on the men’s soccer team said, “Personally, I think I could have played better. The team collectivity knows that they could have played better.” He continued saying that in order to start wining again, the team needs to stay positive.

According to Wright, he believes that the team got more frustrated with themselves and didn’t focus on their abilities as they were more focused on the other team. He said, “Towards the end of the game, we were chasing a goal. We were trying our hardest which led to frustration and the team realized that.”  

The women’s soccer team took over the field and began warming up for their match against Georgia Southwestern University’s Eagles. 

No. 26, Alexa Aronoff who is one of the defenders on the women’s soccer team in her first year, waiting to see what the decision is before she gets closer to the soccer ball. Photo by Rebecca Ansley. 

The Nighthawks had their first goal in eighteen minutes and thirty-four seconds. Abbie Crane, a senior forward on the team, scored the goal and was assisted by Megan Dumand, a junior midfielder. After twenty-six minutes, the women’s soccer team scored their second goal. This goal was led by Alex Clark, a first year midfielder, who was assisted by Katey Derkay, a forward. 

The tension was rising for both the Nighthawks and the Eagles as the match was nearing its end of the second half. Skylar Abbott, a junior forward, scored the third and last goal of the game after the ball was passed to her from Derkay. 

The final score for the women’s game was 0-3, leaving the UNG women’s team with a win and GSU women’s team with a loss. This success made them indestructible. 

Kayley Ralton, the Head Coach for UNG women’s soccer team, said “It was very important for us to set the tone. I am very proud of the girls. I know every game is difficult, but we were able to have control of the game.” 

According to Coach Ralton, they carried out the game plan very well and were able to limit chances from the other team a lot. She stated that they want to increase their speed, work on their attack, and want to continue on scoring more goals for the rest of the season. 

This was Derkay’s first game back since injuring her right knee. She said, “I am so proud of how we played. We came together and got the result we wanted.”


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About the Contributor
Rebecca Ansley
Rebecca Ansley, Staff Editor
My name is Rebecca Ansley, and I am located on the Gainesville campus. I am a junior majoring in Communications with concentration in Multimedia Journalism. I am into photography and film. I love journalism because it allows me to see the different perspectives of those around me. I love being able to give people their voices through my writing and to show the different perspectives of people who have different experiences than me. I want to give the communities their voices back and understand how certain events impact all of us. I also want to show that side to my photography as well. Photojournalism gives me that chance to have my camera lens look into the soul of the person's eyes, to understand their emotions, and to let others see that side of them too.
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Nighthawks Soccer Kicks Off the Season