GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s soccer team will play in its 11th Southern Conference Tournament Championship game Sunday afternoon as the second-seeded Spartans battle fourth-seeded Mercer at Stone Soccer Stadium in Greenville, S.C. Game time is set for 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the ESPN App with Jason Patterson on the call.
The Spartans will be making their 11th championship game appearance Sunday and will be playing for their sixth SoCon Tournament title. UNCG last won the SoCon Tournament title in 2010 with a 1-0 victory over Furman. The Spartans are 30-14-2 all-time in SoCon Tournament play, including a 3-2 victory over Furman Friday night in the semifinals.
The Spartans jumped out to a 3-0 lead against the Paladins Friday before holding them off down the stretch for the one-goal victory. Junior forward Matt Mattis (Little Stoke, England) scored two goals in the victory, including the eventual game-winning goal in the 59th minute of play.
The Spartans enter Sunday’s game with a 10-7-2 overall record and are 4-1-0 in their last five games and 7-2-0 in their last nine contests. UNCG has scored 30 goals in 19 games while holding opponents to 17 games against. SoCon Freshman of the Year Nelson Oceano (Berlin, Germany) leads the team in scoring with 14 points, scoring four goals and dishing out a team-high six assists.
Mattis leads the team in goals with six on the year, including his two in the SoCon semifinals. Junior midfielder Leeroy Maguraushe (Milton Keynes, England) is tied for second on the team with 12 points, scoring three goals and tying for the team-lead with six assists. Sophomore forward Faisal Almubaslat (Summerfield, N.C./Northern Guilford) is fourth on the team with three goals and two assists.
Junior goalkeeper Jon Milligan (Mount Pleasant, S.C./Wando) has played 1785:51 in goal this season. Milligan owns a 0.86 goals against average and has recorded nine shutouts on the season.
Sunday’s game marks the 13th meeting all-time between UNCG and Mercer. The Spartans are 8-4-0 all-time against the Bears but just 5-4-0 since Mercer joined the SoCon in 2014. UNCG won both games in the regular season this year, posting a 1-0 double overtime win in Macon and a 2-1 double overtime win in Greensboro. In Macon, freshman Thordur Johannesson (Hafnarfjordur, Iceland) scored the game-winning goal in the 107th minute of action while Maguraushe converted a penalty kick in the 106th minute of play in Greensboro.
UNCG and Mercer have met in the SoCon Tournament one other time in program history. The Bears defeated the Spartans 1-0 in double overtime in the 2014 SoCon semifinals. Will Bagrou scored the game’s only goal in the 103rd minute of play at UNCG Soccer Stadium.
Mercer enters Sunday’s game with a 7-8-5 overall record and advanced to the championship game after knocking off regular season champion ETSU Friday. The Bears advanced on penalty kicks by a 4-3 margin with goalkeeper Jeremy Booth posting two saves and Bagrou scoring the clinching goal. Mercer is 2-0-1 in its last three meetings while scoring 31 goals in 20 games.
Bagrou led the league in scoring with 27 points, scoring 12 goals and three assists. Conner Antley is second on the team with 11 points, scoring four goals and three assists. Trenton Whitley has tallied three goals and four assists while Arteaga has notched three goals and three assists. Booth has played every minute in goal with 1957:31, posting a 1.01 goals against average and four shutouts.
-- UNCG --