Spartans fall in third round of NCAA Men's Soccer Tourney
GREENSBORO, NC – Matt Wideman was near-perfect, recording seven saves as Southern Methodist eliminated UNC Greensboro, 3-1, in the third round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament on Sunday at UNCG Soccer Stadium.
The match pitted the two winningest active coaches in Division I in UNCG’s Michael Parker and SMU’s Schellas Hyndman.
SMU (13-5-3), one of the hottest teams in the country having gone 11-1-1 in its last 13 matches, will face North Carolina in next weekend’s quarterfinal round. The Tar Heels defeated Virginia, 2-1, on Sunday afternoon in Chapel Hill.
Wideman made an unbelievable save with just over 18 minutes to play to preserve the Mustangs’ 2-1 lead. The shot off the foot of Randi Patterson was headed toward the center of the goal. The ball caromed off of an SMU defender and started towards the top right corner of the goal. Wideman changed direction and punched at the ball with his body bent in half. The ball hit off the cross bar at the right corner and went back into play.
“Best save I’ve seen all year,” said Parker, the active leader in wins among Division I coaches with 451. “Give SMU a lot of the credit for today. They were outstanding on the counterattack today. I thought this game was winnable before hand and I still think we could have won now that the match is over. It just didn’t happen for us today.”
“I thought it was a well-played and competitive contest,” said Hyndman, who picked up his 434th career win on Sunday. “Both teams had a lot to lose and a lot to gain this afternoon. I think the NCAA single-elimination format brings a lot of pressure and enthusiasm into the contest. I was very pleased with our boys to get this victory against a very good UNCG team on the road.
“I told our guys last week that I was never more relaxed for a game than I was in our first round game against San Francisco and in the second round out at UCLA,” said Hyndman. “I was a little more hyped up for this one as we get deeper in the bracket. This team has been through a lot. We had a tough September and we start four freshmen. They are a little more seasoned now and can play in this type of atmosphere.”
SMU got on the board first at 10:04. Paulo DaSilva hit a slow roller from just outside the top of the box. The ball skipped past UNCG keeper Jay Benfield and rolled towards the right post. The ball tapped off the inside of the post and started spinning near the goal line. Benfield was a hair too late to hustle back for it as the ball spun slightly across the goal line for a 1-0 Mustangs lead. It was ironically the same post that later would help Wideman preserve SMU’s one-goal cushion.
The Mustangs took a 2-0 lead at 33:44. UNCG tried to play the ball out of their own end, but a clearing pass hit off the back of a streaking Scott Jones. Daniel Lopez gathered the loose ball for SMU and played it ahead to Duke Hashimoto. Hashimoto got through for a 1-on-1 with Benfield and hit a blast to the top right corner from 14 yards out to give SMU a two-goal lead.
But UNCG (16-6-1) came right back less than three minutes later. Hermann Award semifinalist Randi Patterson played a cross from the left side of the box towards the middle. Freshman Thomas Campbell dove and headed the ball into the goal to make it a 2-1 game at 36:33.
Just after Wideman’s acrobatics, SMU got an insurance goal. Chase Wileman hit a shot from the left side of the box. A UNCG defender tried to play it, but wound up deflecting it into the goal at 73:06.
“This was an enjoyable season,” said Parker. “There wasn’t as much pressure on us this year, as opposed to last year when we were No. 1 in the country for a while. That brought a tremendous amount of pressure to us last year. This year was better. I was really happy with the way we progressed and how we were playing down the stretch this season.”
UNCG advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season, the furthest the Spartans have advanced in the tournament since the university’s move to Division I status in 1991. The Spartans were playing without forward Henning Jonason, who picked up his eighth yellow card of the season in the second round decision over Virginia Tech and was forced to miss Sunday’s match because of it.
SMU...... .................. 2 1 - 3
UNC Greensboro...... 1 0 - 1
SCORING SUMMARY: SMU - da Silva (Zindel), 10:04; SMU - Hashimoto, (Lopez,), 33:44; UNCG - Campbell (Patterson), 36:33; SMU - own goal, 73:06. Shots: SMU 16, UNC Greensboro 13. Saves: SMU 7 (Wideman 7), UNC Greensboro 4 (Benfield 4). Fouls: UNCG 15, SMU 18. Corner kicks: UNCG 6, SMU 3.
- UNCG -