GREENSBORO, N.C. - Will Mack and Jamel Johnson both scored in the final eight minutes of the match as UNC Greensboro topped Furman, 2-0, in the Southern Conference men's soccer opener for both teams.
UNCG snapped Furman's five-match unbeaten streak (3-0-2) and handed the Paladins their first loss since September 6. They shutout a Paladin team that had scored 14 goals in its last five matches, with UNCG's redshirt freshman Peyton Ford recording three saves to notch his second straight shutout. Furman had not been shutout in its last 13 matches going back to last October 18.
It was the first time in the last nine meetings that the match was decided by more than one goal, but the match was just as close as the rest.
Although both teams have several great opportunities throughout the match, the Spartans (3-4-2, 1-0-0) finally broke through at 82:14. Thomas Campbell made a long run and finally sent a through ball into the middle of the box for Will Mack. Mack, a sophomore from Mooresville, N.C., blasted it into the upper 90 on the near side for his first collegiate goal.
With Furman (4-3-2, 0-1-0) pressing to tie the score, UNCG got a late insurance tally. With 35 seconds left, the Paladins set up for a free kick from about 30 yards out on the nearside wing. The kick was knocked down by Thomas Campbell. A centering pass went into a crowd, came out with three UNCG players chasing and it was a footrace to the other end.
With teammates flanking him on either side, Jamel Johnson called his own number and hit a shot past helpless keeper Maros Valko for his first collegiate goal that locked up the win.
The victory was career No. 491 for UNCG coach Michael Parker. UNCG hadn't won a conference opener since 2006. The last three times that UNCG has won its conference opener, however, the Spartans have gone on to finish first in the league (2004, 2005, 2006).
UNCG returns to action on Saturday when it visits Wofford for a 7 p.m. match.
Furman.............. 0 0 - 0
UNCG................ 0 2 - 2
1. UNCG Mack (Campbell), 82:14
2. UNCG Johnson (unassisted), 89:47
Shots: Furman 13, UNCG 15. Saves: Furman 6 (Maros Valko 4; Team 2), UNCG 3 (Peyton Ford 3). Corner kicks: Furman 3, UNCG 5. Fouls: Furman 6, UNCG 12.
- UNCG -