Double overtime goal by Campbell sends UNCG into SoCon finals
GREENSBORO, NC – A goal by junior Thomas Campbell midway through the second overtime on Friday night lifted the UNC Greensboro Spartans past the College of Charleston Cougars, 2-1, and into the Southern Conference Championship round. Third-seed UNCG will face the top-seeded Furman Paladins, Sunday afternoon at 1:00pm at UNCG Soccer Stadium.
Both teams got off to a rather slow start with the first shot from either team not coming until nine minutes into the game. Just two minutes later, a foul called on UNCG resulted in a Cougar penalty kick. Casey Gold stepped up to the line for Charleston with UNCG’s Chad Janda in net. Janda anticipated right, but Gold went left to put in his third goal of the season.
UNCG’s first scoring opportunity arose in the 13th minute as freshman Nirav Kadam dribbled between defenders in the top left corner of the box. He unloaded from 15 yards out sending the ball just right of the far post. Opportunity knocked again in minute-15 as Campbell unloaded from 20-yards out. C of C’s Corbin Waller went for the catch, but nearly lost control as the shot bounced out of his hands and headed for the turf before his could regain control.
With less than five minutes to go in the second half, a chance deflection in favor of UNCG tied the game at 1-1. Sophomore Corey Maret took a shot from the top left corner, as it sailed towards to goal it deflected off Campell, flew outside the reach of Waller, and slipped just under the crossbar.
The game remained tied until three minutes into the second overtime. UNCG received a free kick from 40-yards out following a Charleston foul. Sophomore E.J. O'Keeffe sent the ball towards the center of the net, Waller came out for the catch, but a charging Campbell knocked the ball loose at the last minute and kicked in his 13th goal of the season to send UNCG into the SoCon Championship.
The Spartans move to an 11-7-2 record and are now on a five-game win streak. The loss snaps Charleston’s five-game win streak and drops them to a season-ending 13-5-1 record.
UNCG held a 5-0 corner kick advantage and out-shot the Cougars 20-6.
C of C’s Waller tallied five saves and UNCG’s Janda recorded six of his own.
Earlier in the evening, Furman defeated the Elon Phoenix, 2-1 in the first match of the SoCon Tournament.
Defender Michael Erwood headed in the game-winning goal with just 13:13 remaining in the second half to push No. 1 seed Furman past fourth-seeded.
The Paladins earned a corner kick in the 77th minute and Patrick Murray sent the ball to the near post. Erwood directed a header into the upper-right corner to give Furman the 2-1 edge.
Bryan Amos collected five saves on the evening, including a stop of Steven Kinney’s header with just two seconds remaining to seal the victory.
Furman scored the only goal of the first half in the 35th minute. Shea Salinas raced down the right sideline and sent a cross into the box where Haris Cekic headed the ball past Elon’s Clint Irwin into the bottom-left corner of the goal.
At the 72:26 mark, the Phoenix evened the match following a defensive turnover from the Furman back line. Elon’s Brad Franks intercepted a Furman pass and raced towards the end line. His cross found the waiting foot of Wyatt, who converted his ninth goal of the season.
The two teams combined for 17 shots in the first period, including nine shots on goal. Elon’s Justin Wyatt and Erfan Imeni each tested Amos with chances in the box, but Amos was up to the test, stopping four first half shots.
Imeni and Furman’s Eric Baffour both had golden opportunities in opening five minutes of the second half but each missed wide with headers in the box.
SCORE BY PERIODS
1 2 OT 2OT Total
COFC............. 1 0 0 0 1
UNCG......... 0 1 0 1 2
SCORING SUMMARY: CofC - Gold (penalty kick); UNCG – Campbell (12) (Maret), 85:05; UNCG – Campbell (13) (O’Keeffe), 103:42; Shots: COFC 6, UNCG 20; Saves: COFC 5 (Waller 5), UNCG 4 (Janda 4); Corner Kicks: COFC 0, UNCG 5; Fouls: COFC 16, UNCG 11 (YC-COFC-Morris (40:30); YC-COFC-Fuzy (64:15); YC-UNCG-Manyama (73:54)