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Hammerheads Make Most of Chance to Rebound

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 07/03/16, 9:36AM EDT


Defregger’s three-assist night led Wilmington to victory against Toronto

Photo courtesy Jay Schulman / Wilmington Hammerheads FC

WILMINGTON, N.C. – Following an offseason overhaul of the team’s squad by new head coach Mark Briggs, competition for playing time for Wilmington Hammerheads FC increased exponentially as a result.

That has seen reduced minute so far this season for midfielder Stefan Defregger. On Saturday night, however, the second-year player led the way in just his second start of the season as he provided assists on all three of the Hammerheads’ goals in a 3-0 win against Toronto FC II at Legion Stadium.

“We have a really, really deep squad and training has been really good week in and week out,” said Defregger. “We know that, if someone does go down injured, someone else is going to step up and put in a good performance and I guess it was just my turn tonight.”

Defregger consistently put himself in good positions to make the key pass, and then delivered precisely as the Hammerheads cruised against a Toronto side that was missing a number of key players on the night. In front of a strong crowd at Legion Stadium, the Hammerheads could arguably have been more ruthless in front of goal, but after last week’s defeat in New York, Coach Mark Briggs was happy the side rebounded in such positive fashion.

“We scored three goals and we should’ve scored more so that’s pleasing,” Briggs said. “It was important to bounce back from last week’s end result. From that regard it’s pleasing, but there’s still a number of things I think we can work on.”

Briggs was particularly pleased for Defregger, who got his name on the scoresheet for the first time this season after notching two goals a season ago.

“Stefan, we always know he has a lot of quality, especially in the final third,” Briggs said. “He whips a very good ball in and he has a good brain. He doesn’t rush anything in critical areas and I think we saw that tonight… Those are the little differences you want in players and Stefan has taken his opportunity when he’s gotten it and he deserves the success.”

Photo courtesy Jay Schulman / Wilmington Hammerheads FC

With results around them going in the Hammerheads’ favor elsewhere on Saturday night, the side will now prepare for a big test against in-state rival the Charlotte Independence next Saturday at Ramblewood Stadium. After defeating Toronto to kick off a four-game undefeated streak in late May, the Hammerheads are hoping for more of the same as they push for a return to the playoffs.

“Charlotte, they’re in the position they’re in for a reason,” Briggs said. “They’re right around us and they’ve had a good season, so for us it’s a huge game and that’s why tonight was so important – to get our confidence up and make sure we’re right going into a very big game next weekend.”

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