GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s soccer team went into Sunday night’s game at Southern Conference rival Furman with its SoCon Tournament seeding already set and the Spartans threw everything they had at the Paladins late in the game looking for the game-winning goal, but UNCG suffered a 2-1 defeat to Furman in overtime on a counter attack at Stone Soccer Stadium.
The Spartans entered the game needing a win to secure a share of the SoCon regular season title but fell short in overtime as UNCG pushed everyone forward looking for the go ahead goal. Furman capitalized on the Spartans aggressive nature and Josiah Baker scored the game-winning goal just two minutes into overtime on a counter attack as the Paladins had a 3-on-1 break against UNCG. Baker ended up one-on-one with junior goalkeeper Jon Milligan (Mount Pleasant, S.C./Wando) from 15-yards out and was able to put it into the top corner for the game-winning goal.
Despite the loss, the Spartans have secured the No. 2 seed in the upcoming SoCon Tournament and earned a first round bye. UNCG will open tournament play in the semifinal round face either No. 3 Furman or No. 6 VMI at the Stone Soccer Stadium in Greenville, S.C., Nov. 10. The Spartans closed out the regular season with a 9-7-2 overall record and a 6-3-1 mark, sitting in second place behind ETSU at 6-0-4.
The Spartans opened the scoring in the game in the 26th minute of play. Junior midfielder Leeroy Maguraushe (Milton Keynes, England) got the ball in the midfield and sent junior defender Austin Matthews (New Kent, Va./West Point) out wide on the break. Matthews sent a low cross through the six-yard box where freshman forward Nelson Oceano (Berlin, Germany) beat his defender to the ball and buried past Furman goalkeeper Ben Hale for his fourth goal of the year.
The Spartans kept the Paladins at bay in the first half as Furman only had one shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes. UNCG looked close to taking a two-goal lead in the second half as Maguraushe found space at the top of the 18-yard box in the 66th minute but his shot grazed the cross bar and went out of play.
Furman was able to tie the game late in the second half in the 79th minute as the Paladins pushed numbers forward. Reserve Rocky Guerra found an opening from 20-yards out and fired a shot on goal. The shot deflected off a UNCG defender 15-yards out and changed direction on Milligan, squirting by his out-stretched arms into the near corner for the fortuitous goal, tying the game at 1-1.
The Spartans came close to winning the game late in regulation in the 89th minute. UNCG pushed everyone forward on a long throw-in and after multiple header attempts, junior defender Josh Masten (Mount Pleasant, S.C./Wando) brought the ball down out wide. Masten sent a low cross into the box where junior Matteo Busio (Greensboro, N.C./Western Guilford) got a foot on the ball but his shot went just wide of the goal as Hale was out of position in the Spartans’ final chance of the night.
-- UNCG --