MORAGA, Calif. -- The Saint Mary's men's soccer team returns to the state of North Carolina for the second time in less than a year this weekend when they travel to Wilmington for the UNCW Hilton Garden Inn Classic.
Hosted by the University of North Carolina Wilmington, the tournament format has the Gaels facing the host Seahawks on Friday at 4:30 p.m. (Pacific) and Appalachian State on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. The fourth team in the event is Binghamton.
Both games of the tournament will feature live online statistics and play-by-play, provided by the host. Links are available on SMCGaels.com. There is no live audio or video coverage of the event.
The Gaels conclude the non-conference portion of their schedule next week when they travel about 65 miles north to face UC Davis on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 4 p.m. West Coast Conference play begins on Friday, Sept. 28 with SMC hosting Loyola Marymoung in the league opener for both teams.
Saint Mary's enters the weekend with a 1-1-2 overall record following last weekend's 1-1 draw against CSU Bakersfield and 1-0 loss to third-ranked Creighton.
As a team, the stingy Gaels defense leads the WCC and ranks 35th nationally in goals against average at 0.68, while sophomore goalkeeper Andre Rawls is the individual league leader.
Saint Mary's has never faced UNCW or Appalachian State, but has played teams from the state of North Carolina on 11 previous occasions. Last season, the Gaels' season ended in the NCAA quarterfinals at top-ranked and eventual national champion North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
UNCW, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, enters the weekend with a 2-2-1 overall record. Last weekend the Seahawks split a pair of games at the Diadora Spinx Furman Invitational in Greenville, S.C. UNCW dropped a 4-2 decision to host Furman before rebounding with a 2-0 win over the College of Charleston.
Appalachian State is 3-1-1 on the season and is among the top-5 in the nation in goals against average and shutout percentage. Last weekend the Mountaineers tied USC Upstate 0-0 then defeated Richmond 1-0 at the Davidson adidas Classic.