GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s soccer team opens Southern Conference Tournament play Friday night as the second-seeded Spartans battle third-seeded Furman in semifinal action. Game time is set for 6 p.m. at the Stone Soccer Stadium on Furman’s campus. The game will be broadcast on the SoCon Digital Network with Jason Patterson and Phil Cox on the call. Links will be available at www.uncgspartans.com.
Friday’s game marks the 21st appearance in the SoCon Tournament in UNCG history and the 18th semifinal appearance. The Spartans own a 29-14-2 record all-time in the SoCon Tournament, having won five championships in program history with the last title coming in 2010. UNCG and Furman have met nine times in SoCon Tournament history with the Spartans trailing the series by a 4-5 record. The Spartans have won three-straight against Furman in the SoCon Tournament with wins in 2016 first round, 2010 championship game and 2008 first round.
The Spartans enter Friday’s semifinal game with a 9-7-2 overall record after finishing second in the league with a 6-3-1 mark in league play. UNCG posted a 4-2-2 record on the road this season and has a 5-2-0 record in its last seven games. The Spartans have scored 27 goals in 18 games while allowing 15 goals against. Thirteen different players have scored goals this season.
Freshman Nelson Oceano (Berlin, Germany) leads the team in scoring with four goals and five assists, good for 13 points. Oceano was named the SoCon’s Freshman of the Year for his playing, marking the second time in three seasons UNCG has picked up the honor. Junior Leeroy Maguraushe (Milton Keynes, England) was second on the team in scoring with three goals and five assists, earning First Team All-SoCon honors.
Junior forward Matt Mattis (Little Stoke, England) was named Second Team All-SoCon after scoring four goals this year. Sophomore Faisal Almubaslat (Summerfield, N.C./Northern Guilford) was fourth on the team in scoring with three goals and two assists. Almubaslat scored a goal against Furman in the Spartans’ win earlier this year in Greensboro.
Junior goalkeeper Jon Milligan (Mount Pleasant, S.C./Wando) played 1695:51 in goal this year. He ranked second in the SoCon with a 0.80 goals against average and was first with a .786 save percentage. Milligan led the league with nine shutouts on the year.
Friday’s game marks the 39th meeting all-time between UNCG and Furman. The Spartans hold an 18-16-4 record against the Paladins, including wins in four out of the last five meetings. UNCG went 3-0-0 against Furman last season and split the regular season series this year with each home team winning. The Spartans posted a 2-0 victory in Greensboro earlier this season before dropping a 2-1 overtime loss in the regular season finale.
Furman enters Friday’s game with a 12-4-3 record overall and a 5-2-3 mark in SoCon play. The Paladins have won three-straight games and are 5-0-1 in their last six games, including a 7-1 victory over VMI in the SoCon Tournament quarterfinals last weekend. Furman has scored 39 goals in 19 games while allowing 14 goals against.
Thirteen different players have found the back of the net with eight players having scored multiple goals. Laurence Wyke earned SoCon Player of the Year honors earlier this week after leading the team with 22 points. Wyke scored nine goals and tallied four assists on the year. Danny Kierath was second on the team with five goals and seven assists while Josiah Baker posted five goals and three assists.
Ben Hale has played 1618:54 in goal, earning Second Team All-SoCon honors. Hale posted a 0.83 goals against average with six shutouts and a .732 save percentage.
-- UNCG --