Spartans rally for 4-2 win over Jacksonville in men's soccer season opener
GREENSBORO, NC -- UNC Greensboro scored three times in the final 11:13 to rally for a 4-2 win over Jacksonville in season opening men’s soccer action at UNCG Soccer Stadium on Friday night.
Michael FitzGerald had two goals and Henning Jonasson and Mike Richardson each had a goal and an assist for the Spartans, who were ranked as high as No. 12 in the pre-season national polls.
For UNCG, which was playing without leading scorer Randi Patterson because of a red card in last year’s NCAA Tournament loss to SMU, it was a great first 15 minutes and a great last 15 minutes. The middle 60 minutes, the Spartans might rather want to forget.
FitzGerald got UNCG on the board quickly when he scored at 4:57. Travis Young fed FitzGerald from the right side of the box into the center. FitzGerald connected on a blast from 14 yards out for a 1-0 lead.
The Spartans hit the post two more times in the first 15 minutes and looked like they might dominate the night. But Jacksonville, which was seventh in the nation in scoring last year, had other ideas.
Anton Axelsson scored on a header at 36:06 off a beautiful feed from Ramak Nikan Safi to tie the score. It remained tied until 7:09 into the second half when a Dolphin attacker was taken down in the middle of the box and a penalty kick was awarded. Tommy Krizanovic connected on the kick to give Jacksonville a 2-1 advantage.
Jacksonville looked to have all of the momentum as time wound down, but a foul on the Dolphins in the box changed all of that. Richardson was taken down in the box and awarded a penalty kick, which he promptly deposited to tie the score, 2-2.
That seemed to ignite UNCG. Henning Jonasson scored with 5:51 to play after a Richardson corner kick could not be cleared in front. Jonasson put it home on the second try to give UNCG a 3-2 lead.
FitzGerald then added a tally, his second of the night, for insurance with 2:33 to play. Jonasson found FitzGerald, who made a nifty spin move to get open. His initial shot from 15 yards away was knocked down, but he collected the rebound and fired past the fallen keeper for the final 4-2 margin.
UNCG outshot Jacksonville, 24-11, on the night and held a 9-4 advantage in corner kicks.
The Spartans, who are 16-6-1 in season openers all-time under Michael Parker, will take on Stetson on Sunday afternoon at 1 pm at UNCG Soccer Stadium.
Jacksonville Univ... 1 1 - 2
UNC Greensboro...... 1 3 - 4
SCORING SUMMARY: UNCG - FitzGerald (1) (Young), 4:57; JU - Aexlsson, (1) (Nikan Safi), 36:06; JU - Krizanovic (1) (unassisted), 52:09; UNCG - Richardson (1) (unassisted), 78:47; UNCG - Jonasson (1) (Mike Richardson) 84:09; UNCG - FitzGerald (2) (Jonasson), 87:27. Shots: Jacksonville 12, UNC Greensboro 23. Saves: Jacksonville 9 (Meyer 9), UNC Greensboro 4 (Berry 4). Corner Kicks: UNC Greensboro 9, Jacksonville 4.
- UNCG -