UNCG stuns Furman to advance to SoCon semifinals
GREENVILLE, SC – In a season full of bad breaks for UNC Greensboro, the Spartans finally had two big ones go their way.
Jokull Elisabetarson's wind-aided goal from the center circle was the difference as seventh-seeded UNCG ousted No. 2 seed and pre-season Southern Conference favorite Furman, 2-1, at Stone Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, UNCG advances to the SoCon Tournament's semifinal round next Friday night at Davidson. It was the first time a No. 7 seed beat a No. 2 seed since 2002 when VMI knocked off Appalachian State and just the third time since conference expansion in 1997 forced the tournament to eight teams. If there was ever a season for upsets in the Southern Conference Tournament, however, this is the one. The Nos. 2 through 8 seeds were separated by just two games this season.
For UNCG, it will make its 11th semifinal appearance in 12 seasons in the conference. The match-up was a rematch of last year's tournament final and a dual of the two winningest program's in SoCon Tournament history.
UNCG (7-11-1) will face the winner of the Georgia Southern-Davidson match next Friday in Davidson, NC. The Eagles and Wildcats will play their quarterfinal match on Sunday in Statesboro, GA.
UNCG's first goal came on an own goal. A Furman defender inadvertently knocked a UNCG corner kick into the goal for a 1-0 Spartan lead in the 29th minute.
Elisabetarson's third goal of the season made it 2-0 at 51:40 before the Paladins answered late. Caleb Suri's shot from 25 yards out found the goal with 11:40 to play to make it 2-1.
But UNCG held on from there with Nate Berry recording six saves to earn the victory. Josh Zimmer had two saves for Furman, which finished its season 11-8-1. Furman held a 17-13 advantage in shots on the afternoon.
It was the ninth consecutive meeting decided by one goal or less. UNCG avenged a double-overtime loss at Furman during the regular season, 3-2. Furman is the only Southern Conference team with a winning record against the Spartans all-time, now with a 13-9-1 advantage in the all-time series.
Scoring: UNCG – own goal, 28:08; UNCG – Elisabetarson (unassisted) 51:40; Furman – Suri (unassisted) 78:20. Shots: UNCG 13, Furman 17. Saves: UNCG 6 (Berry 6), Furman 3 (Zimmer 3). Corner kicks: UNCG 5, Furman 8. Fouls: UNCG 15, Furman 15.
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