GREENSBORO, N.C. – Despite tying the game with 28 seconds left in regulation, the UNCG men's soccer team suffered its second straight heart-breaking double overtime loss as the Spartans dropped a 2-1 decision to the College of Charleston Tuesday night at the UNCG Soccer Stadium. The Spartans saw the game-winning goal come just 27 seconds into the second overtime period to fall to 4-7-2 overall and 2-2-0 in Southern Conference play.
"We are very disappointed in the result tonight," assistant coach Scott Brittsan said. "We can't be disappointed though, in the effort the guys gave battling back to equalize the game on a fantastic goal by Brian Graham. We carried a lot of momentum into the overtime and to concede a great goal back in the first minute of the second overtime, was obviously heartbreaking. We had a lot of positives from tonight's game, but we are still fighting to find consistency throughout the game."
The College of Charleston (6-7-0, 2-1-0 SoCon) took the early 1-0 lead in the 11th minute of action as Daan Brinkman drove down the right-hand side and sent a cross into the box. Troy Peterson was all alone at the penalty spot and was able to bring the ball down before firing a shot past fifth-year senior goalkeeper Peyton Ford (Jamestown, N.C./Southwest Guilford) for the early edge.
The Spartans had a strong scoring chance in the 17th minute of action as they started to build up possession. Sophomore Austin Miller (High Point, N.C./High Point Central) combined with senior Hakan Ilhan (Stuttgart, Germany/Univ. of Stuttgart) on the top of the 18-yard box with a give-and-go. Miller was the beneficiary of the free space ripping a shot from 16 yards that sailed just wide of the goal.
Miller once again had a strong chance in the 54th minute of play as he drove across the top of the 18-yard box and ripped a shot that CofC goalkeeper Kees Heemskerk was able to make a diving save on the keep the Spartans off the board. UNCG kept pressing and had a prime chance in the 56th minute as Nathan Bunch (Raleigh, N.C./Incarnate Word) struck a shot from 12 yards out off a flurry, which was pushed wide by Heemskerk.
The Spartans came within inches of tying the game in the 79th minute off of a set piece. Junior Maximilian Schulz (Northeim, Germany/Gymnasium Corvinianum) stepped up and sent a bending shot to the top corner, but Heemskerk was there once again to thwart the effort.
UNCG appeared heading for defeat in regulation as the clock wound under a minute to play. The Spartans got a long throw-in from redshirt sophomore Justin Jones (Jamestown, N.C./Lees-McRae) that Ilhan was able to flick back outside the 18-yard box. Junior Brian Graham (Bowie, Md./Bowie) took one touch from 20-yards out and sent a rocket of a shot into the side netting past a helpless Heemskerk to tie the game and send the game into overtime.
After a scoreless first overtime period, the Cougars needed just 27 seconds in the second overtime to claim the victory. Off the start, CofC possessed the ball and got it to Sean de Silva in the middle of the field. De Silva made a run down the middle of the field and uncorked a shot from 25 yards out past a diving Ford to give the Cougars the 2-1 victory.
Ford posted five saves in 100:27 minutes of play in the loss while Heemskerk tallied six saves in the victory for the Cougars. The evenly-match game saw CofC end with a 15-14 advantage in shots.
The Spartans are off this weekend and return to action next Tuesday night as they travel to Georgia Southern in SoCon action. Game time is set for 7 p.m.