No. 16 UNCG (15-1-1, 10-0-0 SoCon) at Elon (11-6-1, 6-4-0 SoCon), Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m., Elon, N.C. (postponed from Oct. 27)
LiveStats: UNCGSpartans.com (via ElonPhoenix.com)
Video: ElonPhoenix.com (free)
- No. 16 UNCG will try to put the finishing touches on its fourth unbeaten Southern Conference slate in the last five seasons and break the school record for the longest winning streak Thursday at rival Elon.
- UNCG is 10-0-0 in the SoCon heading into Thursday's action, running its league record since 2006 to an impressive 48-2-2 in regular-season play. UNCG went 9-0-1 in the SoCon in 2006, 10-0-0 in 2007, 10-0-1 in 2008 and 9-2-0 in 2009.
- The Spartans topped Appalachian State 1-0 on Sunday to secure their fifth straight outright regular-season SoCon title. UNCG clinched at least a share of the title with a win on Thursday against The Citadel, but by downing the Apps, became the first team in league history to win five straight outright titles. Furman won five consecutive regular-season titles from 1999-2003, but shared the 2001 crown with UNCG and Western Carolina.
- The Spartans have won 12 straight games, tying the school record set from Sept. 27, 2007, to Nov. 9, 2007. The winning streak is just the third of 10 games or more in school history, all of which have come in the last four seasons. UNCG's winning streak is also tied for the third-longest active streak in the nation with No. 15 UC Irvine and trails only active streaks by No. 19 Hofstra (16 straight) and No. 1 Stanford (14).
Active winning streaks
No. 19 Hofstra – 16 matches (next game Saturday)
No. 1 Stanford – 14 (next game Saturday)
No. 15 UC Irvine – 12 (next game Sunday)
No. 16 UNCG – 12 (next game Thursday)
Boston U. – 11 (next game Sunday)
No. 12 Marquette – 11 (next game Sunday)
No. 17 Denver – 11 (next game Friday)
Toledo – 11 (next game Thursday)
- At 15-1-1, UNCG is off to the best start in the program's 23-year history. The 1991 squad previously held that distinction, opening 9-1-0 before dropping its next game. The Spartans are fourth in the nation with a .912 winning percentage, trailing only No. 2 Portland (.944), No. 1 Stanford (.941) and No. 19 Hofstra (.941).
- UNCG is ranked for the sixth week this season. The Spartans are No. 16 in the Soccer America poll, moving up three spots from last week; No. 20 in the NSCAA/Hendrickcars.com poll, up one from last week; and made their debut in the SoccerTimes.com poll this week, entering at a tie for No. 22.
- The Spartans are 28th in the latest RPI rankings. Samford is the next-highest SoCon team at No. 79 and is the only other league team in the top 100.
- UNCG is 14-0-0 against Elon all-time in a series that began in 1988, UNCG's first season of women's soccer. Nine of the 14 matches have been decided by two goals or fewer, but the Spartans have shut out the Phoenix in each of the last seven meetings. Elon has not scored on UNCG since 2004, when UNCG took a 2-1 win in Elon, N.C. The Spartans have outscored Elon 32-3 in the series.
- Tabitha Padgett scored UNCG's lone goal in the Spartans' 1-0 win over Elon on Oct. 29 of last season. Padgett scored off a Jenn Partenheimer pass in the 71st minute to hand UNCG its fourth straight regular-season SoCon title in the regular-season finale for both squads. The teams came in battling for the top spot in the league, with the winner assured of the regular-season title and top seed in the conference tournament. Elon went from one extreme to the other, as instead of winning the title, the Phoenix was left out of the four-team tournament altogether when Davidson won a few days later to force a tie for fourth in the league and won the tiebreaker. Last season's tournament included just four teams as part of the league's cost-cutting measures.
- Freshman Kristen Schmidbauer scored the lone goal in Sunday's win over Appalachian State, converting a Kory Spotts pass in the 62nd minute. UNCG's defense held the Apps to just five shots, with keeper Kelsey Kearney making three saves for her ninth shutout of the season.
- Padgett, the reigning Southern Conference Co-Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, leads UNCG with 25 points on 10 goals and a five assists this season, all career highs. Schmidbauer is second with 20 points on seven goals and six assists, while Cat Barnekow is third with four goals and a SoCon-best 10 assists for 18 points. Kearney has played all but 48 minutes in goal this season, posting a goals against average of 0.54 and a save percentage of .842 in 1,502:07. She has turned in nine shutouts and allowed just nine goals in 17 games.
- Schmidbauer's 20 points thus far on the season put her in exclusive company in UNCG lore. She is currently tied for 10th on the Spartans' freshman scoring list with 2004 SoCon Player of the Year Amy Carnell (2002) and Sanna Rasanen (1995), who was a second-team All-Big South selection in her lone season on the squad. Schmidbauer is three points back of ninth-place Meghan Guarnotta (1988).
- UNCG leads the SoCon in several categories: points per game (7.41), goals per game (2.35), goals (40) assists (46), assists per game (2.71), corner kicks per game (6.06), goals allowed (10) and GAA (0.58). Barnekow leads the league and is seventh in the nation in assists (10) and leads the league and is ninth nationally in assists per game (0.59), while Padgett leads the league in points per game (1.47), goals (10) and goals per game (0.59). Kearney leads the SoCon and is 13th nationally in GAA (0.54) and is second in the SoCon shutouts (nine) and shutouts per game (0.53).
- Kearney is UNCG's and the SoCon's career leader in GAA, as she holds a mark of 0.61 in 55 matches played. She is also UNCG's leader in career shutouts with 28, with her effort Sunday against App moving her into a tie for second in SoCon history. She is now just eight back of the SoCon record of 36.
- UNCG has made a habit of the quick strike this season. In 17 matches, the Spartans have scored consecutive goals within five minutes of each other nine times. Taking it a step further, UNCG had three within five minutes at Chattanooga on Sept. 24 and three in a span of exactly nine minutes against Wofford on Oct. 15.
- UNCG has outscored its competition 40-10 this season. The Spartans have allowed just two first-half goals this season, outscoring their competition 20-2 in the opening frame, and have not trailed at the half this year.
- Of UNCG's 40 goals scored thus far this season, 27 of them have come from underclassmen. Sophomores Padgett (10), Lauren Hein (four), and Jessi Gulledge (three) account for 17, while freshmen Schmidbauer (seven), Stine Schoening (one), Spotts (one) and Lauren Lover (one) account for the other nine. Partenheimer, a senior, has scored six, while juniors Barnekow (four) and Jaimey Etten (three) have the only other goals by upperclassmen.
- Elon enters play Thursday fighting for home field in the first round of the SoCon tournament. Currently sitting in fourth place in the league standings, the Phoenix is locked into either the fourth or fifth seed in the tournament, but would host a first-round game with a fourth-place finish.
- After alternating wins and losses for its first eight games of the SoCon slate, Elon has put together two straight league wins, topping App and Western Carolina last week. The Phoenix picked up a 1-0 win over Appalachian State in overtime on Thursday, getting the golden goal from Simi Dhaliwal in the 98th minute. Elon followed that with a 2-1 win over Western on Sunday, with Chelsey Stark scoring the tying goal less than a minute after halftime and Alanna Winsper notching the game-winner on a penalty kick in the 55th minute.
- Elon has held 10 of its 18 opponents to one goal or fewer, but has been held to one goal or fewer in 10 games itself. Consequently, 14 of its games have been decided by just one goal or fewer (a 1-1 draw with Virginia Commonwealth on Sept. 19 accounting for the "fewer") – including the last 11 straight. Elon is 8-5-1 in games decided by one goal or fewer, including a 6-4-1 mark in the last 11. With so many close games on the season, the Phoenix has had a flair for the dramatic with four overtime wins.
- Brittany Hallberg leads Elon with 17 points on six goals and five assists, while Winsper is just behind her with 15 points on five goals and five assists. Stark has 13 points on five goals and three assists, while Kimmie Krauss has 11 points on four goals and three assists to round on the double-digit scorers for the Phoenix. Keeper Kristen Haney has started all 18 matches for Elon this season, turning in a 1.31 GAA and .701 save percentage in 1,585:04 of work. She has posted five shutouts and allowed 23 goals on the season.
- As a team, Elon is in the top three in the league in corner kicks per game (second, 5.22) and assists (tied for third, 24).
- Elon is 6-3-0 at home this season, opening the year 4-1-0 on home soil before splitting the last four. UNCG is 7-1-1 away from UNCG Soccer Stadium and 6-1-0 in true road contests. UNCG's lone loss this season has come on the road, on Sept. 5 at Cal State Fullerton.
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