GREENSBORO, NC – Michael FitzGerald scored a pair of goals and Hermann Award candidate Randi Patterson had a goal and two assists to complete a dominant effort as UNC Greensboro blanked College of Charleston, 3-0, in Southern Conference men’s soccer action Saturday night at UNCG Soccer Stadium.
The win put UNCG back on top of the SoCon after losing its grip on first place for a few hours on Saturday. Elon had jumped into first place with a 1-0 win over Davidson earlier in the day. The Spartans (11-3-0, 4-0-0) now have 12 points in the SoCon standings to Elon’s 10. The two teams finish the regular season against each other at Elon on November 2.
College of Charleston, which had a share of first place along with Davidson and UNCG when the day started, fell to 7-7-2 overall, 3-3-0 in SoCon action.
On Saturday, UNCG dominated the match nearly from start to finish. The Spartans held a 27-6 advantage in shots and College of Charleston struggled to get its offense going, hampered by 11 offsides calls.
UNCG keeper Jay Benfield recorded his seventh shutout of the season and extended his scoreless string. The senior from Lewisville, NC has yet to allow a goal in the month of October and extended his shutout streak to 507:12. He last allowed a goal in a 1-0 overtime loss at then No. 2-ranked North Carolina on September 27.
Patterson opened the scoring at 29:55 when he scored his 11th goal of the season. Scott Jones, another candidate for the Hermann Award, dribbled through a crowd and fed Patterson just inside the 18. The junior from Hackensack, NJ made a move to his left and hit a blast from 12 yards out into the net for a 1-0 Spartan advantage.
The score remained that way until 56:59. Casey Davis tried to feed Patterson in the box, who was busy fighting off two defenders. Patterson dribbled to the left side of the box, drawing the defense with him, and then fed the ball back into the box. FitzGerald was waiting for the feed and put a header from 10 yards out just under the crossbar to make a 2-0 lead.
Patterson and FitzGerald struck again in the waning minutes. FitzGerald, a redshirt-junior from Wilmington, NC who also had a goal in UNCG's 6-1 win over High Point on Wednesday, passed to Patterson on a give-and-go. Patterson put the ball back towards the goal and FitzGerald chipped it in from four yards out to close out the scoring.
UNCG will step out of conference for what is always a big match on Wednesday night. The Spartans will host Wake Forest in a clash of Top 20 ranked teams beginning at 7 pm at UNCG Soccer Stadium.
Coll. of Charleston. 0 0 - 0
UNC Greensboro...... 1 2 - 3
SCORING SUMMARY: UNCG - Patterson (Jones), 29:55; UNCG FitzGerald - (Patterson, Davis), 56:59; UNCG - FitzGerald (Patterson), 86:27. Shots: Coll. of Charleston 6, UNC Greensboro 27, Saves: Coll. of Charleston 11 (Gilstrap 5; Waller 5, TEAM 1), UNC Greensboro 1 (Benfield 1). Fouls: UNCG 7, College of Charleston 10. Corner Kicks: UNCG 2, College of Charleston 1.
– UNCG –