Camels travel to long-time rival UNC Wilmington Tuesday

Justin Franz (Courtesy of Will Bratton)
Justin Franz (Courtesy of Will Bratton)

Campbell faces the most frequent rival of the 51-season men's soccer program Tuesday when the Fighting Camels travel to UNC Wilmington for a 7:00 p.m. kick-off.

THE UNCW SERIES: Tuesday's contest will be the 48th in the series, which Campbell leads 26-20-1.  The Camels have won the last two meetings with the Seahawks, including a 2-1 victory last season and a 4-2 triumph in 2011 at Wilmington… Last year at Buies Creek, Aleksi Tossavainen gave the Camels and early lead and Justin Franz scored the eventual winner.

RECORDS:  CAMPBELL (1-5, 1-0 Big South) has dropped four-straight matches, including the last two against nationally-ranked opponents.  CU is 0-3 away from home this year… UNCW (3-3, 0-0 CAA) has lost its last two outings and is 1-1 at home in 2013.

CLOSE CALL WITH TOP-RANKED HEELS:  Campbell extended top-ranked North Carolina to overtime last Tuesday before falling 1-0 on a 97th minute goal that scored off a deflection.  The setback left CU 0-5 all-time against No.-1 ranked teams (since 1982), but also marked the closest the Camels have come to defeating a school that topped a national poll.  CU twice suffered 2-0 defeats at the hands of then No.-1 Duke in 1983 and 1996.  Travis Golden nearly gave the Camels a fourth win over UNC since 2006, but his 93rd minute header sailed just wide of the left post.

TOUGH NON-LEAGUE SLATE:  Campbell's five non-conference opponents own a combined record of 18-6-7 (.694) entering this week's play and all five teams are over .500 on the year.

CAMELS VS. NATIONALLY-RANKED TEAMS:  Under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Steve Armas, Campbell stands 2-9-2 against teams ranked in one of the four national polls (NSCAA, Soccer America, College Soccer News, Top Drawer Soccer).  In 2012, CU went 2-2-1 vs. nationally-ranked teams, while the Camels are 0-2-0 vs. ranked opposition this season.

LAST TIME OUT:  Campbell surrendered an early goal, then nearly equalized in the first half when Justin Franz' attempt hit the post, but eventually dropped a 3-0 contest in the rain Saturday at No.-28 Charlotte.  The 2011 NCAA College Cup runner-up, Charlotte has advanced to the NCAA post-season in each of the last two years.  UNC Wilmington surrendered goals in the 81st and 89th minutes to drop a 2-0 decision Saturday at UNC Greensboro.

CAMEL NOTES:  After missing the first two games of the year following off-season knee surgery, center back Travis Golden has returned to the starting lineup and played the full 187 minutes in the last two games.  Golden was a 1st-team all-conference defender in 2012... Justin Franz set up 2 goals and scored the winner in CU's 3-2 win over VMI in the Big South opener and earned College Sports Madness Big South player of the week honors on Sept. 9... Cameron Mulvey scored his first career goal vs. VMI... Ricki Gaez had a goal and assist in a 3-2 loss at Davidson... Pepe Rangel (VMI) and Tunji Osifeso (Davidson) earned their first career points in a CU uniform on assists... Franz leads CU with 6 points (2 goals, 2 assists), while Gaez has 4 points (1G, 2A)… Senior Ethan Hall has played all but 14 minutes and 17 seconds in the nets for the Camels since the start of the 2012 campaign.

UNCW NOTES:  The Seahawks earned their first national ranking since 2010 after winning the Wolstein Classic championship at Ohio State.  Following victories over the host Buckeyes (2-1 OT) and Cincinnati (1-0), UNCW was ranked No.-24 in the Sept. 3 NSCAA poll… UNCW is 0-1 vs. Big South Conference members this year following a 2-1 loss to Presbyterian on Sept. 6 at Wilmington… Colin Bonner and Nathaniel Goodwin lead UNCW with 2 goals scored apiece.  Sean Melvin has played all 554 minutes in goal and owns a 1.46 GAA with 1 shutout.

HOME, SWEET HOME:  Since the start of the 2005 campaign, Campbell owns a 46-22-2 (.671) record at the Eakes Athletic Complex -- including 4 wins over nationally-ranked teams at the site.  CU finished 7-1-1 at home in 2012 and owns a 12-3-1 mark (1-2-0 this year) at Eakes dating to the 2011 season.

CONFERENCE SUCCESS: Campbell owns a 49-17-5 (.725) record in conference regular season play since the start of the 2005 campaign.  Over its final 6 years as a member of the Atlantic Sun, Campbell garnered a 36-10-5 (.755) record and won 3 regular-season titles, plus the 2007 tournament crown.  Campbell owns a 13-7-0 record in the Big South regular season since re-joining the league in 2011.

HEAD COACH STEVE ARMAS (Maryland, '03) is in his fourth year in charge of the Camel program and has guided his teams to a 28-28-8 overall record, 17-12-0 in league regular season play.  Under Armas' direction, the Camels are 3-4-1 vs. Atlantic Coast Conference members and 2-9-2 vs. nationally-ranked teams.

CAMELS PICKED 2ND IN BIG SOUTH POLL: Defending champion Coastal Carolina, ranked 14th nationally in the pre-season NSCAA rating, was picked first a pre-season poll of 11 Big South coaches with 116 points and eight first-place votes.  Campbell (two first place votes) was second with 104 points, followed by High Point (87), Radford (86), Winthrop (85), Liberty (73), Gardner-Webb (50), Longwood (42), Presbyterian (34), UNC Asheville (30) and VMI (19).

NEXT: Following Tuesday's match at UNCW, Campbell returns home to face Southern Conference members Elon (Oct. 1) and UNC Greensboro (Oct. 5).