GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s soccer team returns home to the UNCG Soccer Stadium Saturday night as the Spartans host Southern Conference foe Mercer in a pivotal league game for the UNCG Homecoming contest and Senior Night festivities. Game time is set for 7 p.m. and admission is FREE. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the ESPN App with Jason Patterson and Darryl Kosciak on the call. Links will be available at www.uncgspartans.com.
Senior defenders Nicholas Downs (Great Falls, Mont./Charles M. Russell) and Eric Gunnarsson (Falkenberg, Sweden) will be honored pre-game during Senior Night festivities. The two defenders have combined to play in 137 career games, including 111 starts. The two have led the Spartans to 43 wins during their careers.
Additionally, prior to the game the UNCG will recognize the 30th anniversary of the Spartans three-peat of NCAA Division III National Championships in 1985, 1985 and 1987. Members of those teams will be in attendance and will be recognized on field at approximately 6:45 p.m.
The Spartans enter Saturday’s game in sole possession of second place in the SoCon standings with a 4-2-1 league record, good for 13 points. UNCG trails first-place ETSU by two points with three regular season games remaining. Only four points separate the top four teams in the standings as Mercer and Furman are tied for third at 11 points.
The Spartans have gone 3-1-0 in their last four games and are coming off a 6-1 victory on the road at Wofford Tuesday night. Freshman forward Nelson Oceano (Berlin, Germany) scored two goals and handed out an assist in the win over the Terriers. Oceano leads the Spartans in scoring with three goals and four assists, good for 10 points.
UNCG has scored 19 goals in 15 games while holding opponents to 12 goals against. Eleven different players have scored for the Spartans, including six different players with multiple goals. Junior midfielder Leeroy Maguraushe (Milton Keynes, England) is second on the team in scoring with two goals and three assists (7 pts) while junior forward Matt Mattis (Little Stoke, England) added three goals.
Junior goalkeeper Jon Milligan (Mount Pleasant, S.C./Wando) has played all by 4:56 in goal, playing 1408:18 this year. Milligan is first in the SoCon with a 0.77 goals against average and first with eight shutouts. He ranks second in the league with a .789 save percentage.
Saturday’s game marks the 12th meeting all-time between UNCG and Mercer and the ninth meeting since Mercer joined the league in 2014. The Spartans hold a 7-4-0 record all-time against the Bears and are 4-4-0 against Mercer since 2014. Earlier this year, the Spartans went into Macon and posted a 1-0 double overtime victory over the Bears. Freshman forward Thordur Johannesson (Hafnarfjordur, Iceland) scored the game-winning goal in the 107th minute of action off assists from Josh Masten (Mount Pleasant, S.C./Wando) and Austin Matthews (New Kent, Va./West Point).
The two teams have split the season series the last two years and the last seven meetings have been decided by one goal each. Last season, UNCG posted a 2-1 victory over the Bears in Greensboro as Alexander Lewis (Arden, N.C./T.C. Roberson) scored a goal and former Spartan Damieon Thomas scored the game-winning goal in the 74th minute of play. Mercer posted a 2-1 victory in Macon as the Bears scored two goals in the first 16 minutes before holding off a late push by the Spartans. Lewis scored the Spartans’ lone goal of the game in the 83rd minute.
Mercer enters Saturday’s game with a 5-6-4 overall record and a 3-2-2 mark in SoCon play as it is tied with Furman for third place. The Bears are 1-2-2 over their last five games, including a 2-1 overtime loss at home to Furman. Mercer has been strong on the road in league play, posting 1-0-2 mark away from Macon. The Bears have scored 21 goals in 15 games this season while allowing 18 goals against.
Seven different players have scored this year and five different players have posted multiple goals. Will Bagrou, the reigning SoCon Player of the Year, leads the league in scoring with 10 goals and an assist, good for 21 points. Trenton Whitely is second on the team with two goals and four assists while Conner Antley has posted two goals and two assists. Leonel Toledo leads the team with five assists.
Jeremy Booth has played every minute in goal for the Spartans this year at 1463:44. Booth owns a 1.11 goals against average and a .705 save percentage while posting five shutouts.
-- UNCG --