BOONE, N.C. – Trailing 3-0 in the waning minutes, UNCG got a pair of goals from Brian Graham 60 seconds apart, but the Spartans' frantic rally fell just short as Elon won 3-2 in the 2011 Southern Conference Men's Soccer Championship final on Sunday afternoon.
After Elon built a three-goal lead, the Spartans tried one final rally in the final 10 minutes. In the 82nd minute, Elon was whistled for a foul in its own penalty area after a defender passed the ball back to the goalkeeper and the goalie picked it up.
Will Mack took the indirect free kick from six yards out that went off the Elon wall of players, but Graham was able to collect the rebound and bury his shot into the right side of the net to make it 3-1.
UNCG continued to press and was rewarded with a shot just a minute later. Cameron Owens dribbled down the left wing and delivered a cross into the box where Graham headed it home into the right side of the goal to make it just 3-2 with just over seven minutes remaining.
The Spartans would continue to attack in the final minutes, but weren't able to find the equalizer.
Offense was hard to come by in the opening half as neither team scored until the 43rd minute when Elon took the lead. The Phoenix's Jordan Smith took a pass on the left wing and split a pair of Spartan defenders. Smith dribbled to the left side of the box and then made a quick move before burying the shot into the left corner of the goal just past the diving effort of Peyton Ford.
After the break, Elon quickly made it 2-0 in their favor after converting a penalty kick in the 48th minute. A UNCG defender took down Daniel Lovitz on the left side of the penalty box and Elon was awarded a penalty kick. Gabe Latigue stepped up and deposited his shot in the lower right corner for his fourth goal of the season.
After the goal, UNCG was forced to push a little more, which allowed Elon to score on a counterattack. In the 74th minute, Smith found himself one-on-one with the Spartan goalie Peyton Ford on the left wing. Ford came out to cut off the angle near the top of the box, but Smith used a shot fake to dribble around Ford and easily put it home to take a 3-0 lead.
The Spartans nearly got on the board first in the 35th minute off of a free kick. Will Mack took the free kick from just behind the midfield line and put it into the box for Oddur Gudmundsson. Gudmundsson's header from 15 yards out went off the crossbar and over the goal.
Both teams each had 14 shots in the game, but Elon was able to put eight on target, while UNCG had just four shots on frame. The Spartans committed 11 fouls compared to just eight for Elon.
Elon 3, UNCG 2
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
Elon................ 1 2 - 3
UNCG................ 0 2 - 2
1. 42:30 ELON Jordan Smith (2) (unassisted) - beat defender 1v1, shot from 15 yards
2. 47:22 ELON Gabe Latigue (4) Penalty kick
3. 73:52 ELON Jordan Smith (3) (unassisted) - dribbled around keeper for open net goal
4. 81:30 UNCG Brian Graham (2) (Will Mack) - rebound off deflected indirect kick
5. 82:30 UNCG Brian Graham (3) (Cameron Owens) - cross from left side, headed from 10 yards
Shots: Elon 14, UNCG 14
Saves: Elon 2 (Nathan Dean 2), UNCG 5 (Peyton Ford 5)
Elon adavcnes to NCAA Tournament
- UNCG -