CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The UNCG men’s soccer ventured into Charlottesville, Va., Tuesday night and almost came away with a big upset as the Spartans dropped a hard-fought 2-1 decision to No. 11 Virginia at Klöckner Stadium. The Spartans rallied from a one-goal second half deficit to force overtime, but the Cavaliers ran their unbeaten streak to 11 straight games with a goal in the 96th minute of play in the final regular season non-conference game for the Spartans.
UNCG closes out the 2013 regular season Saturday night as it travels to Burlington, N.C., to face rival Elon at 7 p.m. The Spartans will be playing for a chance at the Southern Conference Championship Saturday night. UNCG can win the outright championship with a victory over Elon and a Furman victory at home over Wofford. The Spartans can claim a share of the championship with a win over the Phoenix and a Furman/Wofford tie Saturday. UNCG owns a 3-1-1 record in SoCon play this season, good for 10 points in the standings trailing only Wofford at 4-1-0 (12 points).
Virginia, which is 12th in the nation in scoring, opened the contest with a goal in the 13th minute of play. The Cavaliers were awarded a free kick, which Jordan Allen took and sent into the box. Ryan Zinkhan rose up in the box and headed it past redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Stephen Moffitt (Burlington, N.C./Williams) for his third goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.
The Spartans kept battling despite being at a 9-0 disadvantage in fouls in the first 45 minutes of play. UNCG broke through and tied the game in the 69th minute of play as its pressure finally cracked Virginia. The Spartans had back-to-back corner kicks against the Cavaliers and converted on their second attempt to tie the game at 1-1.
Sophomore midfielder Lukas Zarges (Freidrichsdorf, Germany/Phillip Reis Schulle) curled a left-footed cross into the box. Senior midfielder Oddur Gudmundsson (Reykjavik, Iceland/Breidholti) rose above his defender and rammed home a header past Virginia goalkeeper Jeff Gal. The goal was Gudmundsson’s second of the season and tied the game at 1-1.
The Spartans kept the Cavaliers at bay down the stretch of regulation and forced overtime as Moffitt finished with four saves, three in the second half. Virginia picked up the game-winning tally in the 96th minute of play as this time it was its turn to score off a corner kick. Riggs Lennon was able to head home the cross from Todd Wharton past Moffitt for his fifth goal of the season and a 2-1 Virginia victory.
The game was the first meeting between UNCG and Virginia in almost 10 years to the day. The Spartans won the last meeting 2-1 in Greensboro in the 2003 season but are now 1-4 all-time against the Cavaliers.
- UNCG -