GREENSBORO, NC – Michael FitzGerald had a career-high with six points and Randi Patterson tied a career-high with six points on the night as second-seeded UNC Greensboro rocked seventh-seeded Georgia Southern, 6-0, in the quarterfinal round of the 2005 Southern Conference men’s soccer tournament.
UNCG (13-5-0) advanced to gain a rematch with third-seeded Elon on Friday at 7 pm at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, SC. The Phoenix, who beat UNCG by a 2-1 score on Wednesday night, got past sixth-seeded Appalachian State, 1-0, on Saturday night. Fourth-seeded Furman, a 3-2 overtime winner over College of Charleston, will take on top-seeded Davidson, a 1-0 winner over Wofford, in Friday’s first semifinal beginning at 4:30 pm. The winners will play for the SoCon Tournament Championship on Sunday at 1 pm. The Southern Conference Tournament champ receives an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
On Saturday night, UNCG showed no ill-effects of the Wednesday night loss – except maybe for some anger taken out on the Eagles. UNCG scored just 3:37 into the match when FitzGerald scored his sixth of the season. Egill Atlason started the play with a cross from the right corner. Patterson deflected the ball slightly in almost a shot fake fashion at the right side post. It was enough to fool the Georgia Southern defense as FitzGerald popped the ball into an open net from the left side for a 1-0 lead.
Patterson, a candidate for the Hermann Award, made it 2-0 at 8:22 on a freak goal. The speedy forward charged Georgia Southern keeper Adam Webb as he was about to play a ball on the ground about 12 yards from the goal line. Patterson, the 2004 Southern Conference Player of the Year and the league’s leading scorer this season, blocked Webb’s clearing attempt and the ball went backwards into the net for his 15th goal of the season. The goal moved Patterson into 12th place all-time on the UNCG scoring list ahead of Darren Powell (105 points).
The Spartans made it 3-0 with 12:15 left before half. After a foul just above the circle, freshman Henning Jonason played the free kick with a perfect hook into the bottom right corner for his fifth goal of the season.
Unlike the first time the two teams met when Georgia Southern put together a rally after a 3-0 UNCG lead, the Spartans didn’t let off the gas in the second half on Saturday. Patterson scored again off a feed from FitzGerald just 10:51 into the second half. The junior from Hackensack, NJ scored his 16th goal of the season and the 46th of his career from 15 yards out on a breakaway into the top left corner of the goal.
The Spartans added two more goals just 20 seconds apart midway through the second half. Matt Mulvena intercepted a clearing attempt and found Scott Jones on the right wing. Jones, a junior from Dallas, TX who is also on the Hermann Award watch list, made a couple of moves and hit a blast into the net for his fourth goal of the season.
Just 20 seconds later, it was FitzGerald’s turn again. Thomas Campbell played a ball to the right side of the goal. Randi Patterson hit the ball back across the goal to where FitzGerald, a junior from Wilmington, NC, was waiting and he knocked it home to complete his six-point night.
UNCG is now 8-1 in SoCon quarterfinal games, having won five straight. Georgia Southern lost in the quarterfinal round for the fourth consecutive year. The six goals scored were the most in a SoCon Tournament match since 2000 when Furman defeated The Citadel, 8-0, in the quarterfinal round. It was the most by a UNCG team in a conference tournament match since 1998.
Georgia Southern.... 0 0 - 0
UNC Greensboro...... 3 3 - 6
SCORING SUMMARY: UNCG - FitzGerald (Patterson; Atlason), 3:37; UNCG - Patterson (unassisted), 8:22; UNCG - Jonason (unassisted), 32:45; UNCG - Patterson (16) (FitzGerald), 55:51; UNCG - Jones (4) (Mulvena), 62:28;UNCG - FitzGerald (7) (Patterson, Campbell), 62:48. Shots: Georgia Southern 11, UNC Greensboro 13. Saves: Georgia Southern 3 (Webb 2; Young 1), UNC Greensboro 3 (Benfield 3). Fouls: UNC Greensboro 16, Georgia Southern 12. Corner Kicks: UNC Greensboro 6, Georgia Southern 5.
– UNCG –