No. 1 seed UNCG opens SoCon tourney play Sunday vs. Wofford
No. 16 UNCG (16-1-1, 11-0-0 SoCon) vs. Wofford (7-7-4, 2-5-4 SoCon), Oct. 31, 2 p.m., UNCG Soccer Stadium, SoCon tournament quarterfinal round
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- Top-seeded and 16th-ranked UNCG opens Southern Conference Championship play Sunday when it hosts No. 8 seed Wofford in the quarterfinal round at UNCG Soccer Stadium at 2 p.m. The contest begins the Spartans' quest for their first tournament title since 2006.
- In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, fans are encouraged to wear pink to Sunday's game and the first 100 fans in attendance will receive a free pink T-shirt. UNCG will wear pink uniforms and shoelaces. The Spartans' younger fans are also encouraged to wear Halloween costumes, as there will be a children's costume contest at halftime.
- The Spartans are 23-6-3 all-time in the SoCon Championship, winning titles in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2006 and posting runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2008. UNCG is 10-1-1 all-time in the quarterfinal round, with the only loss coming to Georgia Southern (2-1) in 1999 and the draw coming against Davidson (1-1) in 2002.
- UNCG has faced Wofford in the tournament three times, in 1997, 1998 and 2003. The teams met in the title game in 1997, with the Spartans destroying the Terriers, 9-0. A 6-0 UNCG win followed in the semifinals the next year, and UNCG downed Wofford 2-0 in the quarterfinal round in 2003.
- The Spartans downed Elon on Thursday, 2-1, to complete their fourth undefeated SoCon slate in the last five years. UNCG finished regular-season SoCon play 11-0-0, setting a new league mark for conference wins. Since 2006, UNCG is 49-2-2 in regular-season conference play. The Spartans 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. UNCG has won a league-record five straight outright regular-season titles.
- UNCG is 8-0-0 at home this season and is looking for the first undefeated home slate in school history. The Spartans have already assured themselves of at least sharing the school record for home winning percentage in a season, as the worst they can do is tie the 2008 squad, which went 8-1-0 at UNCG Soccer Stadium (.889).
- The Spartans have won a school-record 13 straight games, eclipsing the previous record of 12 set in 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 the third-longest active streak in the nation 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. 16 UNCG – 13 (next game Sunday)
No. 15 UC Irvine – 12 (next game Sunday)
No. 17 Denver – 12 (next game Tuesday)
Boston U. – 11 (next game Sunday)
No. 12 Marquette – 11 (next game Sunday)
- UNCG's senior class of Katie Evans, Jenn Partenheimer and Jen Rincon is seeking history Sunday. The class enters the contest with a career record of 61-17-5, tied for the most wins in a four-year span in school history with the 1998 class, which went 61-26-2. This year's class is far and away the best in school history in terms of winning percentage, as its .765 mark is 56 points higher than the previous school record of .709 turned in by the 1997 class. The 2010 class is also guaranteed of finishing with the fewest losses in school history for a four-year span, as the worst it can do at this point is 19 (17 plus one in the SoCon tournament and one in the NCAA tournament, should the Spartans get an at-large bid if they lose in the SoCon tournament). The previous record was 23, set by 1997 class.
- At 16-1-1, 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 17-0-0 against the Terriers all-time in a series that began in 1997, UNCG's first season in the SoCon. The teams have met 14 times in the regular season and faced each other in the SoCon tournament three times. The Spartans have outscored Wofford 47-4 in the series, with three of the Terriers' goals coming in the inaugural meeting in 1997, a 4-3 UNCG win. Wofford's other goal came the following season, when UNCG won 3-1 in the regular-season meeting. Since that game on Oct. 30, 1998, the Spartans have shut out the Terriers 14 straight times, meaning Wofford has not scored on UNCG in almost exactly 12 years. Or, put another way, the Terriers have not found the back of the net against UNCG in the last 1,284 minutes, 29 seconds of game time.
- Last time against Wofford, the Spartans came storming out of the gates for three goals in the first 11 minutes in a 3-0 win in Spartanburg, S.C., on Oct. 15. Lauren Hein scored in the second minute of play and Jaimey Etten corralled her own corner kick and scored it in the seventh minute to make it 2-0. Partenheimer scored in the 11th minute for what would prove to be the final margin. UNCG outshot the Terriers 17-6 on the afternoon, with Sydney Reed leading Wofford with three. Keeper Kelsey Kearney made two saves for her 26th career shutout, setting UNCG's career shutout mark that day.
- Tabitha 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. Kristen Schmidbauer is second with 20 points on seven goals and six assists, while Cat Barnekow is third with four goals and a SoCon-best 11 assists for 19 points. Kearney has played all but 48 minutes in goal this season, posting a goals against average of 0.57 and a save percentage of .836 in 1,592:07. She has turned in nine shutouts and allowed just 10 goals in 18 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 (7.28), goals per game (2.33), goals (42) assists (47), assists per game (2.61), corner kicks per game (5.89), goals allowed (11) and GAA (0.60). Barnekow leads the league and is seventh in the nation in assists (11) and leads the league and is ninth nationally in assists per game (0.61), while Padgett leads the league in points per game (1.39), goals (10) and goals per game (0.56). Kearney leads the SoCon and is 13th nationally in GAA (0.57) and is second in the SoCon shutouts (nine) and shutouts per game (0.50).
- Kearney is UNCG's and the SoCon's career leader in GAA, as she holds a mark of 0.62 in 56 matches played. She is also UNCG's leader in career shutouts with 28, tying her 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 42-11 this season. The Spartans have allowed just three first-half goals this season, outscoring their competition 20-3 in the opening frame, and have trailed at the half just once this year, at Elon on Thursday.
- Of UNCG's 42 goals scored thus far this season, 28 of them have come from underclassmen. Sophomores Padgett (10), Hein (five), and Jessi Gulledge (three) account for 18, while freshmen Schmidbauer (seven), Stine Schoening (one), Kory Spotts (one) and Lauren Lover (one) account for the other nine. Partenheimer, a senior, has scored seven, while juniors Barnekow (four) and Etten (three) have the only other goals by upperclassmen.
- UNCG had to rally from its first halftime deficit of the season Thursday at Elon. The Phoenix scored just 31 seconds into the match, a record for the quickest goal by a UNCG opponent. The score stood at 1-0 until early in the second half, when Partenheimer scored a goal off a Barnekow pass in the 54th minute to pull the Spartans even. Hein scored what would be the game-winner in the 63rd minute, getting a through ball from Katie Durst and putting away her fifth goal of the season.
- Wofford, making its first SoCon Championship appearance since 2007, is 4-6-0 all-time in the SoCon tournament first round and sports an overall record of 5-9-0 in the tournament.
- The Terriers got into the tournament by the skin of their teeth, but won their final contest with their backs against the wall to gain entry to the SoCon tournament. With its 2-5-4 league record, Wofford finished tied with Appalachian State for eighth place and the final tournament spot. The two played to a scoreless draw during the regular season, and both lost to UNCG, Samford, The Citadel and College of Charleston – the top four teams in the league, in that order. The tie was finally broken with the teams' records against Elon, the fifth-place finisher. Wofford topped the Phoenix 2-1 during the regular season, while Elon downed App 1-0.
- Wofford defeated Furman 1-0 Wednesday in its must-win contest, getting a Nikki Siebert goal in the 25th minute off a pass from Anne Phillips. Katie McChesney and Kimberly Cohn combined for the shutout in the net, with Cohn posting three saves in 88:12 of work. McChesney, a senior, got the start on her Senior Day.
- Wofford opened the season 5-2-0 against nonconference opponents, but found tougher going once it got into SoCon play. Two of the Terriers' wins in league play have come in the last four games, however, and all but two of their league results were determined by one goal or less. Wofford played to four draws on the season, two of them 2-2 contests and two of them scoreless affairs. Wofford's only conference games decided by more than one goal were both 3-0 losses, to UNCG and Georgia Southern.
- Wofford has outscored its opponents 31-26 on the season, but those numbers are skewed a bit by a 9-0 win over Division II Converse and a 6-0 win over an Alabama State team with an RPI of 315 (out of 322). The Terriers are a second-half team, as they outscore their opponents 19-7 in the second frame.
- The Terriers have turned in seven shutouts on the season, tied for fourth-most in the SoCon.
- Siebert leads Wofford in scoring on the season with 15 points on four goals and a team-high seven assists. Emily Bougas is second with 13 points on a team-best six goals and one assist, while Phillips is the only other Terrier in double figures with 11 points on three goals and five assists. All three keepers on Wofford's roster have seen significant minutes this season, but Cohn has seen the most work with 12 appearances and eight starts. She has posted a solid 0.84 GAA in 961:19, allowing nine goals and posting two shutouts. McChesney has started seven matches and owns a 2.47 GAA, while Erika Christensen has started three and has a 1.41 GAA.
- Wofford is 2-5-2 on the road this season, with wins over Alabama State and UNC Asheville and draws at Davidson and Chattanooga.
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