GREENSBORO, N.C. - Freshman A.J. Nelson scored twice and Spartan goalkeeper Chad Janda had six saves to celebrate his Senior Night as UNC Greensboro won what amounted to an elimination game in the Southern Conference Men's Soccer Tournament race, 3-1, over Davidson at UNCG Soccer Stadium on Saturday night.
The Spartans (6-8-3, 3-2-1) kept their hopes alive of getting into the four-team conference tournament. UNCG will travel to Elon next Saturday night with a chance to possibly earn a spot in the tournament. Davidson (10-7-0, 3-4-0), which lost for the sixth time in the last seven outings since popping into the Top 25, was eliminated from conference tournament contention.
After a scoreless first half in which the Wildcats outshot the Spartans 12-3 and controlled most of the tempo, the team combined for three goals in a span of 3:35. Nelson opened the scoring on a gorgeous goal at 58:59. Matt Strine's long ball into the box found Nelson in traffic. The Jacksonville, Fla. native had only one option to shoot - a flick off of his heel, which found its way just inside of the right post for a 1-0 Spartan lead.
Davidson wasted no time getting the equalizer, though. Just 52 seconds later, Mark Millard's cross from the right corner found Josh Zipin on the doorstep. Zipin chipped it home for his second goal of the year to tie it at 1-1.
Nelson, the reigning Southern Conference Player of the Week after scoring twice in last Saturday's 6-0 win over Georgia Southern, struck again in the 63rd minute. Freshman Mike Magnotic set up for a corner kick on the right side and hit a low liner right at Nelson. Nelson redirected it with a header and tucked it just inside the right post for his fourth goal in the last three games and a 2-1 advantage.
The scored stayed that way until 3:56 remained in the match. E.J. O'Keeffe played a long ball down the right side into the top of the box. Cruz Oronos got into a foot race with charging goalkeeper Chip Sanders. The speedy Oronos won the race and scored his third goal of the year, hitting the shot just inside the left post.
Janda, a senior from Raleigh, N.C. who was making just his second start of the season, made six saves on the night, including two punches just over the cross bar and a third on a header from point blank range.
The Spartans have off until they close out the regular season in that important clash with backyard rival Elon next Saturday at 7 p.m.
Davidson............ 0 1 - 1
UNCG................ 0 3 - 3
1. UNCG Nelson (Strine), 58:59
2. DAV Zipin (Millard), 59:51
3. UNCG Nelson (Magnotic), 62:34
4. UNCG Oronos (O'Keeffe), 86:04
Shots: Davidson 25, UNCG 10. Saves: Davidson 1 (Sanders 1), UNCG 6 (Janda 6). Corner kicks: Davidson 4, UNCG 3. Fouls: Davidson 10, UNCG 13.
- UNCG -