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Hammerheads win season debut

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WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) -- The Wilmington Hammerheads defeated the Rochester Rhinos 1-0 thanks to a second-half goal by Luke Mulholland at Legion Stadium on Sunday afternoon, giving the Hammerheads a victorious return to the field as they opened the 2011 USL PRO season.

The Hammerheads' home opener against the Rhinos was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was postponed until Sunday due to severe weather in the Wilmington area.

The Hammerheads controlled most of the first half as they played with patience and had several scoring opportunities in Rochester’s penalty area that they were unable to finish. Rochester goalkeeper Neal Kitson notched four saves in Sunday’s game, but the Hammerheads also saw a number of chances miss the target.

Both teams picked up the game’s tempo as the first half drew to a close, and that continued at the start of the second half. The Hammerheads had a goal ruled out due to an offside call, but shortly after Mulholland stole the ball in the Rhinos' penalty area and fired home for what would prove to be the only goal of the game in the 52nd minute. It was the former Wingate University standout's first professional goal.

Rochester showed an increased urgency as the second half wore one and had several opportunities in the Hammerheads penalty area. Hammerhead goalkeeper Brock Duckworth kept Wilmington alive, posting three crucial second-half saves in his professional debut, including a spectacular save to deny Andrew Hoxie late in the game.

Rochester’s Tony Donatelli recorded three shots on goal and Tyler Rosenlund and Michael Tanke each had one shot on goal against the Hammerheads. The four minutes of stoppage time was dominated by Rochester, but the Rhinos were unable to put the ball in the back of the net and fell to their second defeat of the weekend after falling 1-0 to the Richmond Kickers on Friday night.

Wilmington will try to build on its opening victory when it returns to the field on Friday, April 29 as it hosts the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Legion Field. Rochester will travel to face the Dayton Dutch Lions next Saturday.

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