Three-goal second half lifts UNCG over Furman, 3-2
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Leigh Riordon's first goal of the season capped a three-goal second half as UNC Greensboro topped Furman, 3-2, in Southern Conference women's soccer action Sunday afternoon.
The Spartans (12-4-1, 7-0-1) scored three times in a span of 21:32 to spoil Furman's Senior Day and erase a 1-0 halftime deficit. UNCG and Furman have combined to win 10 of the last 11 Southern Conference regular-season and tournament titles.
The win ran UNCG's Southern Conference regular-season unbeaten streak to 28 straight matches going back to a 4-3 overtime loss at Furman on Oct. 30, 2006. UNCG and goalkeeper Kelsey Kearney saw their respective shutout streaks snapped. UNCG's ended at 560 minutes, 38 seconds, while Kearney's scoreless streak was stopped at 647 minutes, a school record and just shy of the NCAA's all-time top 20 list.
Furman (10-6-1, 4-4-0) snapped that shutout streak at 15:11 when Martha Hall's eighth goal of the season made it a 1-0 Paladin advantage. Rachel Fry's low cross was redirected by Hall into the goal.
UNCG got on the board just 1:44 into the second half. Mary Kate Towne hit a shot from 23 yards out that Jessica Smith got a piece of, but not enough to prevent it from becoming Towne's fourth goal of the season and tying the game, 1-1.
Kristin Player gave the Spartans a 2-1 lead a little over six minutes later. Heather Deutschle played a through ball past the back line. Player won the race to the ball just inside the box and popped it into the right corner of the goal for her fifth tally of the season.
Furman, which upset the Spartans in the SoCon Tournament's title match last year, wasn't about to go away, however. Lucy Martin's header off a corner kick resulted in her third goal of the season and a 2-2 tie at 57:54.
Riordon, however, gave UNCG the lead with 21:44 to play. Lauren Lopez his a long ball into the box. Riordon then popped it home from the 6-yard box to make it a 3-2 game.
The Paladins nearly tied the game with 10:30 to play, but Rachel Fry's header was knocked away by a Spartan defender to preserve the one-goal lead.
Kearney, a freshman from Durham, N.C., had three saves to earn the win. Smith also had three saves for Furman. UNCG had a 9-6 advantage in shots, but was shut out in the corner kicks department. Furman had a 6-0 advantage in corners.
With the win, the Spartans clinched a home quarterfinal match in the Southern Conference Tournament. That match will be played on Sunday, Nov. 2. UNCG returns home for a pair of games next weekend, beginning with a Friday night matchup with Georgia Southern. That match gets under way at 7 pm.
Score by periods
Scoring: Furman – Hall (Fry) 15:11; UNCG – Towne (unassisted) 46:44; UNCG – Player (Deutschle) 53:00; Furman – Martin (Hall, Gokham) 57:54; UNCG – Riordan (Lopez) 68:16. Shots: UNCG 9, Furman 6. Saves: UNCG 4 (Kearney 3, Team 1), Furman 3 (Smith 3). Corner kicks: UNCG 0, Furman 6. Fouls: UNCG 8, Furman 4.
- UNCG -