Men's Soccer Eliminated From SoCon Tournament With Double Overtime Loss
STATESBORO, Ga. – The fifth-seeded UNCG men's soccer team suffered its fourth double overtime loss of the season as the Spartans were eliminated from the Southern Conference Tournament with a 2-1 first round loss to fourth-seeded Georgia Southern at Eagle Field Sunday evening. The Eagles scored the game-tying goal in the 85th minute of action and notched the game-winning goal in the 105th minute of play to end the Spartans' season.
The Spartans got on the board early in the contest, finding the back of the net in the 25th minute after the game was delayed almost two hours due to lightening. UNCG was awarded a corner kick and junior Maximilian Schulz (Northeim, Germany/Gymnasium Corvinianum) sent the ball to the corner of the six-yard box where freshman Lukas Zarges (Friedrichsdorf, Germany/Phillip Reis Schule) ripped a shot past goalkeeper Neal Bates for the lead and his third goal of the year.
The hotly contested game saw chances for both sides with Georgia Southern having a prime chance in the 77th minute of action. Reed Norton got behind the UNCG defense and was one-on-one against fifth-year senior goalkeeper Peyton Ford (Jamestown, N.C./Southwest Guilford). Ford came up with a sprawling save to thwart the prime scoring chance by the Eagles and kept the Spartans in the lead.
UNCG came within inches of taking a two-goal lead in the 81st minute, once again off a corner kick. Zarges sent the ball into the box where senior forward Hakan Ilhan (Stuttgart, Germany/Univ. of Stuttgart) got a head on the ball and sent a shot towards goal. Bates was able to get enough of the shot to slow it down before a Georgia Southern defender cleared it off the line to keep it a one-goal tally.
Georgia Southern started to push all players into the attack and the pressure paid dividends in the 85th minute as the Spartans were called for a handball in the box awarding a penalty kick to the Eagles. Norton stepped up for the Eagles and ripped a show low and to the right. Ford chose the right direction but the ball was hit too hard and perfectly placed in the bottom corner tying the game at 1-1.
The teams went into extra time with the Spartans notching the first prime scoring chance in the first overtime period in the 93rd minute. David Reittinger (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest) got on the end of a cross from 15-yards out and ripped a shot that squirted past Bates and was goal-bound before a Georgia Southern defender once again cleared the ball off the line to keep the Eagles in the game.
Georgia Southern recorded the game-winning goal in the 105th minute of action as David Vargas Masis got the ball 20 yards out. He dribbled into the box and past a couple of UNCG defenders before ripping a right foot shot into the top corner past Ford for the game-winning goal sending the Eagles on in the SoCon Tournament.
The Spartans finished the game with 17 shots, including three each from Ilhan and Zarges, while the Eagles posted 18 shots in the victory. Ford made seven saves in his final appearance for the Spartans as he ended his career as the all-time leader in goalkeeper minutes played for UNCG with 6625:42.
- UNCG -