No. 19 UNCG (13-1-1, 8-0-0 SoCon) vs. Western Carolina (5-8-3, 2-4-2 SoCon), Oct. 21, 6 p.m., UNCG Soccer Stadium
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- No. 19 UNCG will honor seniors Katie Evans, Jenn Partenheimer, Jen Rincon and student assistant coach Barrie Vogel on Thursday when the Spartans host Western Carolina for Senior Day. UNCG would clinch at least a share of its fifth straight Southern Conference regular-season title with a win over the Catamounts.
- This year's senior class is one of the best in school history. The group has compiled an overall record of 58-17-5 in the last four seasons, including a 37-2-1 mark in SoCon play. The .756 winning percentage that class has amassed is the best in school history by a mile, as the next-best is the .709 mark turned in by the 1997 senior class. This year's class needs just four wins to set a school record for most wins in a four-year span. UNCG has at least four games remaining on the schedule.
- At 13-1-1, 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. With a winning percentage of .900 this season, UNCG is tied for sixth nationally with two-time defending national champion North Carolina.
- UNCG is 8-0-0 in the league so far this season, and could lock up at least a share of its fifth straight SoCon regular-season title Thursday. With a win against Western Carolina, UNCG would finish SoCon play no worse than 9-2-0. Samford and The Citadel enter play this weekend at 6-2-0, meaning either or both could tie the Spartans, but UNCG would still take the top seed in the upcoming league tournament if that were to happen, as UNCG has beaten both head-to-head. No team in SoCon history has ever won five straight regular-season titles outright. Furman won five straight titles from 1999 to 2003, but shared the 2001 crown with UNCG and Western.
- With its win at Furman on Sunday, UNCG assured itself of finishing no worse than third in the league, meaning the Spartans will host a first-round SoCon tournament game on Oct. 31. While the opponent is still to be determined, the game time is set at 2 p.m.
- The Spartans have won 10 straight games, tied for the fourth-longest active winning streak in the nation. 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. The last 10 game-streak was from Oct. 3, 2008, to Nov. 2, 2008, and the school record for consecutive wins is 12, set during the 2007 season.
Active winning streaks (all teams play again Friday
unless otherwise noted)
Hofstra – 14
Stanford – 12
Dayton – 11
UC Irvine – 10 (next game Thursday)
UNCG – 10 (next game Thursday)
Boston U. – 9 (next game Thursday)
Marquette – 9
Denver – 9 (next game Thursday)
Toledo – 9
- UNCG is ranked for the fifth week this season. The Spartans are No. 19 in the Soccer America poll, moving up one spot from last week, and are No. 21 in the NSCAA/Hendrickcars.com poll, up one from last week.
- The Spartans are 25th in the latest RPI rankings. Samford is the next-highest SoCon team at No. 78, while The Citadel is the only other league team in the top 100 at No. 99.
- UNCG is 12-2-2 all-time against Western Carolina. The contests are typically close, with all but two being decided by two goals or fewer. The only exceptions are a 7-0 UNCG win in 2004 and the Spartans' 3-0 win last season. The teams have met every year since 1999, including SoCon tournament meetings in 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006 and 2008. UNCG topped the Catamounts in the SoCon title game in 2001 and tied WCU in the 2008 title game, with the Catamounts taking the crown on penalty kicks. The Spartans are 8-0-2 against Western since 2003.
- Last season, Tabitha Padgett, Kristin Player and Nicole Danford scored for the Spartans in a 3-0 win on Oct. 8 in Cullowhee, N.C. Padgett scored in the 23rd minute, while Player made it a 2-0 game in the 34th. Danford put the game away in the 66th. Keeper Kelsey Kearney made two saves for the shutout.
- The Spartans topped Furman on Sunday, 4-1. Padgett had two goals, while Cat Barnekow had a goal and two assists and Kristen Schmidbauer had a goal and an assist. Partenheimer had a pair of assists. After Furman jumped out to a 1-0 lead less than three minutes in – giving UNCG its first deficit since a 2-0 loss to Cal State Fullerton on Sept. 5, 43 days prior – Padgett and Barnekow scored less than two minutes apart in the 20th and 22nd minutes to put UNCG on top. Padgett and Schmidbauer scored less than four minutes apart late in the game to blow it open.
- Padgett, the reigning Southern Conference Co-Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, leads UNCG with a career-high 23 points on a career-high nine goals and a career-high five assists this season. Schmidbauer is second with 17 points on six goals and five assists. Barnekow is third with three goals and a SoCon-best 10 assists, while Partenheimer has 15 points on a career-best six goals and three assists. Kearney has played all but 48 minutes in goal this season, posting a goals against average of 0.61 and a save percentage of .830 in 1,322:07. She has turned in seven shutouts and allowed just nine goals in 15 games.
- UNCG leads the SoCon in several categories: points per game (7.80), goals per game (2.47), goals (37) assists (43), assists per game (2.87), corner kicks per game (6.00), goals allowed (10) and GAA (0.66). Barnekow leads the league in assists (10) and is fourth nationally in assists per game (0.67), while Padgett leads the league in points per game (1.53) and game-winning goals (four). Kearney leads the SoCon in GAA (0.61) and is second in save percentage (.846), shutouts (seven) and shutouts per game (0.47).
- Kearney is UNCG's and the SoCon's career leader in GAA, as she holds a mark of 0.63 in 53 matches played. She also set the school's career shutout record Friday at Wofford and now has 26 in less than three full seasons of play.
- UNCG has made a habit of the quick strike this season. In 15 matches, the Spartans have scored back-to-back 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.
- Of UNCG's 37 goals scored thus far this season, 25 of them have come from underclassmen. Sophomores Padgett (nine), Lauren Hein (four), and Jessi Gulledge (three) account for 15, while freshmen Schmidbauer (six), Stine Schoening (one), Kory Spotts (one) and Lauren Lover (one) account for the other nine. Partenheimer, a senior, has scored six, while juniors Barnekow (three) and Jaimey Etten (three) have the only other goals by upperclassmen.
- Western Carolina is on the bubble for making the SoCon tournament, as it currently sits eighth – and only the top eight teams participate in the tournament. The Catamounts are 2-4-2 in the league, but have gone 2-1-1 over their last four games, topping Georgia Southern and Davidson before playing to a draw with Chattanooga. WCU dropped a 1-0 game to Samford last time out, playing to a stalemate through the first 80 minutes Sunday before Samford struck for the decisive goal.
- Freshman Christine Kaznowski leads the Catamounts in scoring with 12 points on a team-high five goals and two assists. Sophomore Laura Greb is the only other WCU player in double digits with 10 points on three goals and a team-best four assists. Caitlin Williams has played all 1,500 minutes in goal for Western this season, posting a 1.20 GAA and an .837 save percentage. She has turned in five shutouts.
- Western appears in the top three of the league in just one category, saves. The Catamounts have made 107 saves, good for 6.69 per game. Individually, Williams is second in the league in save percentage (.837), saves (103) and saves per game (6.44).
- UNCG is 7-0-0 at home this season and with two matches left in UNCG Soccer Stadium this season, has a chance to set a school record for the best single-season home record. The record is 8-1-0, set in 1995 and matched in 2008.
- Western Carolina is 2-4-2 on the road this season, picking up road wins at Campbell and UNC Asheville in its first two games of the season.
- UNCG -