Menís Soccer Falls To Top-Seeded ETSU In SoCon Tournament Semifinals
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The fourth-seeded UNCG men’s soccer team saw its season come to an end Friday afternoon as the Spartans suffered a 5-2 loss to top-seeded and regular season champion East Tennessee State in the Southern Conference Tournament semifinals at the UNCG Soccer Stadium. The Spartans finish the season with an 11-7-2 overall record, while the Buccaneers advance to the SoCon Finals Saturday evening in Greensboro.
The Spartans dominated the game statistically holding a 21-13 edge in shots and a 10-0 advantage in shots, but were unable to come out on top. SoCon Goalkeeper of the Year Jonny Sutherland posted six saves in the victory for ETSU, which improved to 12-4-2 on the year.
ETSU opened the scoring in the fourth minute of action as the Bucs took advantage of a UNCG turnover deep in its territory. The misplay came to Fletcher Ekern and he sent a through ball behind the UNCG defense where Joao Ramalho ran onto it and poked it past senior goalkeeper Logan Rohde (Cary, N.C./Greensboro College) for the early 1-0.
The Spartans responded to the early goal and generated chances on the Bucs, coming close in the ninth minute. Sophomore Austin Matthews (New Kent, Va./West Point) took a long throw-in that was flicked on by classmate Josh Masten (Mt. Pleasant, S.C./Wando) to the back post. Junior Eric Gunnarsson (Falkenberg, Sweden) ripped a shot from 8-yards out on goal but ETSU goalkeeper Jonny Sutherland was there to make the save.
ETSU once again got the benefit of a UNCG turnover and took a 2-0 lead in the 13th minute of action. This time, Rohde had a missed clearance and turned the ball over to Mitchell Cecatiello 20-yards out. Cecatiello went one-on-one against Rohde and beat him with a low shot for the early two-goal lead.
The teams traded posts later in the first half as Charlie Machell struck the post off a free kick in the 30th minute and senior Damieon Thomas (St. Catherine, Jamaica/Georgia Military Institute) struck iron in the 39th minute with a header off a cross. The Spartans held a 9-6 edge in shots in the first half and a 5-0 lead in corner kicks but could not get past Sutherland.
The Bucs started the second half much like the first, scoring early in the half taking a 3-0 lead in the 49th minute. Ramalho made a long run down the left side, turned down the end line and found Serge Gomis at the top of the 18-yard box. Gomis blasted a shot from 15-yards out past Rohde for the three-goal lead. ETSU extended its lead to 4-0 with another goal in the 56th minute as Javier Alberto scored off a rebound off the cross bar.
The Spartans scored their first goal of the game in the 62nd minute as freshman defender Casey Penland (High Point, N.C./High Point Christian) was hauled down in the box. Gunnarsson stepped up and calmly converted from the spot for his fourth goal of the season and his first career penalty kick goal.
After ETSU scored a goal in the 71st minute, the Spartans closed out the scoring in the 85th minute of action. Sophomore Matt Mattis (Little Stoke, England) made a run down the right hand side and sent a cross into the box. Thomas flicked the ball towards the top of the 18-yard box where sophomore Ethan Wells (Lewisville, N.C./Reagan) volleyed a shot past Sutherland for his first of the season to close out the scoring at 5-2.
-- UNCG --