GREENSBORO, N.C. – The third-seeded UNCG men’s soccer team fell victim to a second half penalty kick goal as the Spartans dropped a 1-0 decision to sixth-seeded Georgia Southern Saturday night in the first round of the Southern Conference Tournament at the UNCG Soccer Stadium. The loss ends the Spartans season with an 8-9-2 overall record while the Eagles advance to the semifinals for the second straight year.
In a game of inches, the Spartans looked ready to take a 1-0 lead at the 64:30 mark when junior Austin Miller (Jamestown, N.C./High Point Christian) made a great run across the top of the 18-yard box. Miller struck a bending shot that beat GSU goalkeeper Neal Bates, but his ball hit the inside of the far post and back into play.
Georgia Southern countered and Witt Carlisle got in on a semi-breakaway immediately and redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Stephen Moffitt (Burlington, N.C./Williams) came out to deny him. Moffitt was able to stop his shot but Carlisle tripped in the box after he past the goalkeeper and GSU was awarded a penalty kick. Carlisle stepped up and struck a low shot to the right past Moffitt for his team-leading seventh goal and the 1-0 lead just 20 seconds after the post was rung on the other end at 64:50.
“We are disappointed,” head coach Justin Maullin said. “I don’t think we were quite as sharp tonight. Our guys battled all night but the quality wasn’t there in the end. Austin Miller hits the inside of the post for us to go up one nil and literally they go down and get a penalty kick to go in front one nil other way -- that’s the game. Overall, we just weren’t quite good enough to get the result tonight.
The Spartans had the game’s first scoring chance in the fourth minute of action. Senior midfielder Oddur Gudmundsson (Reykjavik, Iceland/Breidholti) won the ball in the midfield and between two GSU defenders, poked the ball behind the Eagles’ backline. Redshirt sophomore forward Dustin Gamradt (Kiel, Germany/Hebbleschule) ran onto the ball and got a piece of it in front of the on-charging goalkeeper Neal Bates, who got enough of the ball to keep it out of the back of the net keeping it scoreless.
Georgia Southern had its first prime chance in the 13th minute of action as a long ball was sent into the 18-yard box. Eric Dinka was able to run onto the ball and in one fluid motion rip a shot across the grain on goal from eight yards out but Moffitt was there to make the save.
The Eagles came close in the 19th minute of play as they started to generate chance on the Spartans. Dinka again made a run at the top of the 18-yard box but this time he slipped a through ball behind the UNCG defense. Carlisle ran onto the diagonal ball and tried for the near post, but his shot skirted just wide.
Georgia Southern had another chance in the 37th minute of play off a corner kick. The Spartans initially got to the cross and sent it wide but a UNCG defender’s clearing attempt went back to the center of the 18-yard box. Roberto Lopez found himself alone from 15-yards out only to see Moffitt smother his low shot to keep the Eagles off the board.
UNCG had the last chance of the half in the final minute as sophomore Lukas Zarges (Freidrichsdorf, Germany/Phillip Reis Schulle) sent a ball down the right-hand side. Junior David Reittinger (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) corralled the ball and beat a GSU defender down the end line. Reittinger rifled a shot from point blank range that nearly got past Bates, but he maintained sending the game into the locker room tied at halftime.
The Spartans had the first scoring chances of the second half in the 58th minute. UNCG got into the box where Zarges ripped a shot from six yards out that Bates was able to keep out of the goal. The rebound came right back to Zarges who laid if off for freshman Rouven Wahlfeldt (Velbert, Germany/Gymnasium Waldstrasse). Wahlfeldt’s shot made its way through traffic, but was thwarted by Bates to keep it scoreless.
The Spartans pushed down the stretch after falling behind in the 65th minute. The best chance to tie the game came in the 88th minute. Gamradt broke down the right-hand side and tried to catch Bates off his line. Instead of sending a cross into the box, he lofted the ball over Bates’ head and towards the far corner. Bates was barely able to poke the ball over the cross bar while falling into the goal to preserve the victory.
UNCG finished the game out-shooting Georgia Southern 16-12, including a 10-3 margin in the second half. The Spartans had 11 different players notch shots in the loss, including a team-high three by Gamradt. Moffitt made three saves in the loss while Bates ended with seven saves against UNCG.
- UNCG -