WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Sophomore Dusan Stankovic/Belgrade, Serbia scored the only and game-winning goal on a penalty kick in the second half to lead No. 19 Richard Bland College to a 1-0 Region X men's soccer shutout road victory at Cape Fear (N.C.) Community College on Tuesday afternoon in Wilmington, North Carolina. Sophomore keeper Tomás Fonseca/Torres Vedras, Portugal made three saves for the visiting and unbeaten Statesmen (6-0, 5-0 Region X) against the host and previously undefeated Sea Devils (3-1, 3-1 Region X). Richard Bland will remain on the road to play at in-state rival and Region X opponent Patrick Henry Community College on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 3 p.m. in Martinsville.
"The guys put in a shift today," said second-year assistant coach Nick Surkamp. "Through adversity, our guys absolutely battled and came away with a deserved victory. The records of the two teams coming in provided for a playoff-like vibe, and this experience will only serve to mentally strengthen our team as we continue through the season. Another match, another win, another shutout. Now we shift our focus to Patrick Henry on Saturday and we will be fully committed to bringing back another conference victory."
Playing on the road for the first time this season, and just hours after being nationally-ranked for the first time in the five-year history of the program, Richard Bland and Cape Fear played to a scoreless first half. It remained that way well into the second half, as well, before freshman Uziel Hernandez/The Villages, Florida was fouled hard inside the box on the left wing at 67:15. Stankovic promptly stepped forward and placed his PK attempt past the Sea Devil keeper and into the back of the net for the decisive goal of the contest. It was the fourth goal of the season for Stankovic, who is now a perfect 3-3 on PK opportunities.
Fonseca started in front of the net for Richard Bland and played the entire 90 minutes with the three saves to earn his third shutout, the team's third consecutive and fourth blanking overall in six contests under the direction of fourth-year head coach Eduardo de Souza.
Cape Fear took a 13-6 advantage in shots against Richard Bland, including 4-3 in attempts on goal. The Statesmen, however, had a 6-1 edge in corner kicks.
Richard Bland and Cape Fear were meeting for the 10th time in the sport of men's soccer, and the Statesmen now lead the all-time series, 6-4, including six-straight wins against the Sea Devils.