GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s soccer team opened the 2017 season with a double overtime, scoreless draw at UAB Friday night at BBVA Compass Field in Birmingham. The Spartans overcame a slow first half to out-shoot UAB 12-10 in the final 65 minutes of the game.
UNCG opens the home portion of the schedule Monday night when it welcomes in Triad rival High Point for a 7 p.m. contest at the UNCG Soccer Stadium. The game will be Close the Caf night where the UNCG cafeteria shuts down and moves over to the UNCG Soccer Stadium in one of the biggest events of the fall.
UAB, a Conference USA member, came out of the gate quickly, holding a 7-3 advantage in shots in the first half. The Blazers were unable to solve the Spartans’ defense and junior goalkeeper Jon Milligan (Mount Pleasant, S.C./Wando). Milligan made three saves in the first half and four in the game to earn his fifth career shutout.
The Spartans had the best chance in the first half despite the shot disparity in the 28th minute. Freshman midfielder Cyril Olowabi (Manchester, England) made a run down the middle of the field, beating two UAB defenders. Olowabi ripped a shot from 20-yards out that UAB goalkeeper James Teal made a diving stop to keep the game scoreless.
The Spartans came out of the break and started to take control of the game, but got a huge save from Milligan in the 66th minute off a counter attack. UAB forward Aidan O’Hara got behind the UNCG defense and was in alone on the break but Milligan was able to make a toe save to push the would be goal wide of the post.
Sophomore Leeroy Maguraushe (Milton Keynes, England) came close in the 79th minute as his shot from 20-yards out sailed just over the cross bar. The Spartans were warming to the task late in the second half and senior Nicholas Downs (Great Falls, Mont./Charles M. Russell) almost had a storybook return after missing last year due to injury. Downs pounced on a UAB turnover and rocketed a shot from 18-yards out but Teal was able to smother the ball enough to keep it out of the goal.
The Spartans had all of the chances in the two overtime periods but could not crack the goal. UNCG had three corner kicks in the first overtime alone, including a big header from freshman defender Casey Penland (High Point, N.C./High Point Christian) that was snuffed out by Teal in the 94th minute of play.
-- UNCG --