GREENVILLE, SC – Thomas Campbell scored with 3:02 to play to give UNC Greensboro a 2-1 win over Furman and present the Spartans with their third consecutive Southern Conference Regular Season title.
The Spartans (11-6-1, 5-1-1) will be the No. 1 seed in the Southern Conference Men’s Soccer Tournament, which gets underway next Saturday night at four campus sites. UNCG will host Wofford beginning at 7 pm at UNCG Soccer Stadium. Furman (9-7-1, 4-2-1) will await the outcome of Saturday’s match between College of Charleston and Appalachian State to see if it is seeded second or third.
The win, head coach Michael Parker’s 350th at UNCG, was just the Spartans second in five regular season trips to Greenville since joining the league in 1997 and was the fifth consecutive match between the teams decided by a goal or less. Last year, UNCG defeated Furman in double overtime in Greensboro.
It is the fifth time UNCG has won or shared the SoCon regular season crown, which is the official conference champion despite the tournament next week. The Spartans won it outright in 1997, shared it with Furman in 1998, won it outright again in 2004 and shared it with Davidson last year. UNCG becomes just the third school in 41 years of Southern Conference men’s soccer play to win three consecutive titles, joining Appalachian State and Furman which have each done it multiple times. It is the seventh time a team has won or shared at least three consecutive titles.
UNCG opened the scoring at 16:13. Hermann Trophy candidate Scott Jones received the ball in the middle of the field about 30 yards from the goal. He played the ball to right wing to Travis Young. Young's shot initially hit the post, but then bounced off of Furman goalkeeper Bryan Amos and into the net for his second goal of the season.
Furman tied the score midway through the second half. Patrick Murray played a ball down the right side to Shea Salinas. Salinas made a run to the endline and then sent a low linedrive into the box that Eliot Paschalis flicked into the goal for his third tally of the season and a 1-1 score.
But Campbell, a sophomore from Red Bank, NJ, came up with the game-winner at 86:58. Campbell made a weaving run through the Furman defense and hit a shot to the far post from 20 yards out. It was just out of reach of a diving Amos and gave UNCG a lead it would not surrender.
Furman, which played a man down for the final 21 minutes, outshot UNCG, 16-12. Nate Berry had six saves for UNCG in earning the win.
The Spartans will close out the regular season with a non-conference match-up at Akron, a clash of No. 1 ranked teams in the last two seasons, Tuesday at 7 pm.
UNC Greensboro...... 1 1 - 2
Furman.............. 0 1 - 1
SCORING SUMMARY: UNCG Young (Jones) 16:13; FUR Paschalis (Salinas;Murray), 59:21, UNCG Campbell (unassisted), 86:58. Shots: UNC Greensboro 12, Furman 16. Saves: UNC Greensboro 7 (Berry 6; TEAM 1), Furman 4 (Amos 4). Corner Kicks: Furman 4, UNCG 4. Fouls: Furman 11, UNCG 24.
- UNCG -