GREENSBORO, N.C. – The fifth-seeded UNCG men's soccer team hits the road for the opening round of the 2012 Southern Conference Tournament this weekend as the Spartans travel to Statesboro, Ga., to face fourth-seeded Georgia Southern Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. The winner of the first round game will advance to the semifinals of the SoCon Tournament held Nov. 8 & 10 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.
Sunday's game marks the 15th appearance all-time in the SoCon Tournament by the Spartans as UNCG owns a 27-10-2 record in the history of the event. The Spartans own the second-best winning percentage in SoCon Tournament history, notching a 72.4 percent winning clip, trailing only Furman at 75.5 percent. UNCG has advanced past the first round in 12 of its 14 appearances, while making the finals 10 times and winning it five times.
Conversely, Georgia Southern will be making its 19th appearance and owns a 10-16-3 record all-time in the event, for a 39.7 percent clip. The Eagles have advanced past the first round just seven out of 18 times and only made two finals appearances, without a tournament title.
Sunday's game marks the eighth meeting all-time between UNCG and Georgia Southern in Southern Conference Tournament history. The Spartans own a 6-0-1 record all-time against the Eagles in tournament history and have advanced past the Eagles in all seven appearances. UNCG has out-scored Georgia Southern 20-3 in the tournament, including a 3-0 victory in the 2006 finals.
UNCG finished with the fifth seed in the league standings after posting a 5-9-2 overall record and a 3-4-0 mark in conference play, finishing with nine points. The Spartans dropped their final regular season game of the year, suffering a 2-1 double-overtime defeat at home against Elon. The loss moved UNCG to 0-3-2 this season in overtime games, with all five contests going into the second extra period.
Senior forward Hakan Ilhan
(Stuttgart, Germany/Univ. of Stuttgart) paces the Spartans offense, which has scored 24 goals this season. Ilhan has tallied 21 points on the strength of seven goals and seven assists. Junior midfielder Oddur Gudmundsson
(Reykjavik, Iceland/Breidholti) is second on the team in scoring with 10 points as he has found the back of the net five times.
Fifth-year senior goalkeeper Peyton Ford
(Jamestown, N.C./Southwest Guilford) has played all but 77 minutes in goal this season. Ford owns a 1.49 goals against average and has made 61 saves on his way to three shutouts.
Georgia Southern earned the fourth seed and a home game in the first round after ending the regular season with wins in three out of its last four games. The Eagles ended the year with a 5-11-1 overall record and a 3-3-1 mark in SoCon play to finish with 10 points, one ahead of the Spartans.
The Eagles have scored 24 goals this season with 10 players finding the back of the net, including six who have scored at least three goals each. Reed Norton leads the team in scoring with 12 points on the year as he has scored four goals and handed out four assists. Drew Ruggles has nine points (3g, 3a) while Hunter Norton has eight points (3g, 2a). Georgia Southern has used two goalkeepers this season with Neal Bates having secured the job down the stretch, starting nine straight games. Bates has a 1.59 goals against average this season and has posted 52 saves with two shutouts.
Sunday's game marks the 24th meeting all-time between UNCG and Georgia Southern. The Spartans hold a commanding 18-2-3 mark all-time against the Eagles. Georgia Southern snapped a four-game UNCG winning streak in the series earlier this season with a 4-1 victory at home. Hunter Norton led the Eagles with two first half goals while Eric Dinka and Rocco Bagley tallied goals in the victory.
The game will be streamed live online and lives stats will be available courtesy of Georgia Southern. Links will be available on www.uncgspartans.com
- UNCG -