Overtime goal lifts Furman past UNCG for SoCon men's soccer tourney title
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Haris Cekic's goal in the first overtime period broke a scoreless deadlock and gave No. 22 Furman its 11th SoCon Men's Soccer Tournament title in school history, a 1-0 win over UNC Greensboro at UNCG Soccer Stadium.
With the win, Furman claims the Southern Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship.
Furman forward Shea Salinas lofted a long ball into the box where Cekic flicked a shot over the oncoming goalkeeper, sealing the victory for the Paladins in the 99th minute.
Paladin goalkeeper Bryan Amos made two saves on the day while earning his ninth shutout of the season. Amos was named the tournament's MVP after allowed just one goal in over 278 minutes of play.
“I am very proud of my squad,” said UNCG coach Michael Parker. “This was an outstanding match today. Neither team deserved to lose this match. But, I am so proud of how hard these kids have worked and how far they have come this season.”
After a scoreless first half, the Spartans made a quick counter-attack following a Furman corner kick in the 48th minute, and Matt Strine found himself wide open on the right side of the box. His shot went high, however, keeping the match tied 0-0.
Furman's first chance of the second half came minutes later when Eliot Paschalis sent in a blast from 30 yards out, and UNCG goalkeeper Chad Janda was forced to punch the shot over the crossbar.
The Paladins' turned up the pressure in the final 10 minutes of regulation, notching three shots in a three minute span. In the 94th minute, Janda made a diving save to his right on Jordan Howard's attempt from the top of the box.
Janda made three saves on the afternoon for the third-seeded Spartans, who were outshot by the tournament's number one seed, 14-9.
The championship is Furman's first Southern Conference tournament title since 2001. UNCG was trying to become the first team to win three consecutive tournament titles since Furman did it in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Furman improved to 18-3-0 while UNCG fell to 11-8-2.
Furman will learn its first-round opponent when the NCAA brackets are revealed at 5:30 p.m. Monday on ESPNews.
Erfan Imeni, Elon
Will Mason, Elon
Doug Edwards, College of Charleston
Ryan Kell, College of Charleston
Jokull Elisabetarson, UNC Greensboro
Nirav Kadam, UNC Greensboro
David Worthen, UNC Greensboro
Bryan Amos, Furman
Takato Ban, Furman
Michael Erwood, Furman
Patrick White, Furman
Most Valuable Player: Bryan Amos, Furman
Furman.............. 0 0 1 - 1
UNC Greensboro...... 0 0 0 - 0
SCORING SUMMARY: FUR - Cekic (9) (Salinas), 98:24. Shots: Furman 14, UNC Greensboro 9; Saves: Furman 2 (Bryan Amos 2), UNC Greensboro 3 (Chad Janda 3); Corner kicks: Furman 4, UNCG 2. Fouls: UNCG 17, Furman 13.
- UNCG -