Spartans down Western Carolina in clash of SoCon powers
CULLOWHEE, N.C. – In a rematch of last season's Southern Conference Championship title game, UNC Greensboro exacted a measure of revenge with a 3-0 win over Western Carolina on Thursday.
The Spartans improved to 8-5-0 overall and 4-1-0 in the league to remain tied atop the conference standings. Western Carolina saw its six-match unbeaten streak end in falling to 5-5-3 overall and 2-1-2 in the SoCon.
UNCG and Western Carolina – who were picked 1-2 in the preseason SoCon poll – met in last season's title match, playing to a scoreless draw before the Catamounts took the crown in penalty kicks, earning the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and denying the Spartans a spot in postseason play.
Padgett got the scoring started in the 23rd minute, scoring her team-leading sixth goal of the season off a Jenn Partenheimer pass on a breakaway to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead. Kelly Attayek was also credited with an assist on the play.
That was where the score would stay going into halftime, with the Spartans holding a 7-1 edge in shots in the opening frame. WCU's Jenny Matteson had the Catamounts' lone attempt in the first half, and didn't get it off until the 41st minute.
The Spartans continued to control the run of play in the second half, rattling off another seven shots to just four for Western Carolina. UNCG finished with a 14-5 shot advantage for the game, while the Catamounts held a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Danford got in on the scoring in the 66th minute, notching an unassisted goal from 10 yards out after a breakaway.
Western Carolina put its first shot on frame in the 51st minute, as Shanna Schmoker forced UNCG keeper Kelsey Kearney's first save of the evening. Schmoker would finish with two of WCU's five shots in the contest.
In all, Kearney – last season's first-team All-Southern Conference keeper – made two saves on the evening in picking up her fifth shutout of the season.
Her counterpart, Caitlin Williams – last season's SoCon tournament MVP and this season's preseason all-conference keeper – made five saves and allowed three goals.
The Spartans return to action on Sunday, Oct. 11, when they will host Appalachian State at 2 p.m. at UNCG Soccer Stadium.
UNC Greensboro (8-5-0, 4-1-0) vs. Western Carolina (5-4-4, 2-1-2)
Date: Oct 08, 2009 Attendance: 425
Weather: 73 Mostly Cloudy
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
UNC Greensboro 2 1 3
Western Carolina 0 0 0
1 22:21 UNCG Tabitha Padgett (6) (Jenn Partenheimer;Kelly Attayek)
2 33:16 UNCG Kristin Player (6) (Cat Barnekow;Casey Godwin)
3 65:32 UNCG Nicole Danford (2) (unassisted)
Shots: UNC Greensboro 14, Western Carolina 5
Saves: UNC Greensboro 2 (Kelsey Kearney 2), Western Carolina 5 (Caitlin Williams 5)
Corner kicks: UNC Greensboro 2, Western Carolina 5
Fouls: UNC Greensboro 10, Western Carolina 12
- UNCG -