GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s soccer team turned in its best offensive performance of the season Tuesday night as the Spartans picked up a pivotal Southern Conference road win with a dominating 6-1 victory over Wofford at Snyder Field. The victory improves the Spartans to 4-2-1 in league play and moves them into sole possession of second place in the standings with 13 points, two behind ETSU (4-0-3).
The six goals are a season-high for the Spartans and marks the first time UNCG has scored at least six goals since Oct. 29, 2016 against VMI (8-1). Freshman forward Nelson Oceano (Berlin, Germany) led the attack with a career-high five points in the win, scoring two goals and adding an assist. Five different Spartans scored goals in the victory as UNCG improved to 23-6-1 all-time against the Terriers.
The Spartans (7-6-3, 4-2-1 SoCon) struck early and often, opening the scoring just seven minutes into the game off a corner kick. Junior midfielder Matteo Busio (Greensboro, N.C./Western Guilford) sent the corner kick into the box where it fell at the six-yard box between a cluster of players. Freshman forward Thordur Johannesson (Hafnarfjordur, Iceland) pounced on the loose ball from 8-yards out and fired it past Wofford goalkeeper Hunter Wages for the 1-0 lead and his second goal of the season.
The Spartans took a 2-0 lead in the 16th minute of play as sophomore defender Casey Penland (High Point, N.C./High Point Christian) made a long run down the right-hand side and was able to turn the corner on his defender. Penland ripped a shot from 10-yards out that Wages saved but the rebound came out front and sophomore forward Faisal Almubaslat (Summerfield, N.C./Northern Guilford) pounded home the rebound for the two-goal cushion.
Wofford (3-12-0, 3-4-0 SoCon) came right back down and earned a penalty kick just 22 seconds later as a Terrier forward was hauled down inside the 18-yard box. Chris Welsh stepped up and buried the shot from the spot to narrow the gap to 2-1 for the Terriers, beating junior goalkeeper Jon Milligan (Mount Pleasant, S.C./Wando).
The Spartans kept attacking and took a 3-1 lead in the 18th minute, just 1:30 later. UNCG was putting pressure on the Terriers and Wofford cleared an attempt out of the 18-yard box. Busio ran onto the ball and fired a shot from 25-yards out that Wages had to make a diving save on, but again the rebound bounced out in front. Oceano was the first on the scene and poked the ball into the goal for his second goal of the season.
UNCG extended its lead to 4-1 late in the first half. Oceano won the ball in the midfield and sent a long ball behind the Wofford back line. Freshman Tyson Hichman (Asheville, N.C./West Henderson) beat two Terrier defenders for the ball and was able to chip Wages from 18-yards out after the Terrier goalkeeper came out of goal trying to clear the ball. The goal was the second of the season for Hichman and both of his goals have come against Wofford.
The Spartans kept attacking and extended their lead to 5-1 in the 52nd minute of play. Junior defender Austin Matthews (New Kent, Va./West Point) sent a long throw-in inside the box where Penland out-jumped his defender and rammed a header into the back of the goal past Wofford goalkeeper Matt Reynolds for his first goal of the year.
UNCG could not be corralled in the contest as the Spartans had the Terriers under duress for the entirety of the game. The Spartans took a 6-1 lead in the 67th minute of action as Oceano scored his second of the game. The Spartans sent a long ball behind the Wofford defense and Almubaslat fired a shot on goal that Reynolds saved. Once again, the rebound bounced out in front and Oceano beat all defenders to the ball depositing it in the back of the net for the six-spot.
Milligan picked up the win for the Spartans, allowing one goal in 85:04 as he came out of the game for the first time this season. Wages picked up the loss for the Terriers, allowing four goals in 45 minutes of the first half.
-- UNCG --