GREENSBORO, N.C. — UNCG scored a pair of second half goals as the Spartans opened Southern Conference play with a 2-0 victory over No. 23 Furman, Saturday at UNCG Soccer Stadium.
The win extended UNCG's (4-4-0 overall, 1-0-0 SoCon) winning streak in the series to five matches. Furman (8-2-2, 0-1-0) lost for the first time in its last 10 outings.
Facing a Furman squad which entered the match having allowed just seven goals all season, the Spartans struggled to gain any offensive traction until breaking through for a pair of late goals.
After a scoreless first half in which the teams appeared to be sizing each other up, the Spartans finally broke through with a goal in the 73rd minute. Hakan Ilhan came out of a crowd in front of the net and headed in a free kick from Aaron Reifschneider, giving UNCG a 1-0 lead. Ilhan's goal was his team-leading fifth of the season.
A flurry of shots by Furman followed as the Paladins reeled off four shots over the ensuing 10 minutes. But UNCG gained some breathing room when Austin Miller took a long pass from Kris Byrd, made a move around a defender in the box, and slid a shot past Furman goalkeeper Alec Kann for a 2-0 lead in the 86th minute.
UNCG's defense kept the Paladins at bay for the remaining four minutes to preserve the Spartan's second win over a Top 25 team this season.
UNCG keeper Peyton Ford was outstanding for the Spartans, facing 10 shots and making three saves, all in the second half. The shutout was his second straight and 11th of his career.
The Spartans took eight shots and Kann made three saves for Furman.
UNCG returns to action when it hosts High Point at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 5.
- UNCG -