For video of UNCG coach Steve Nugent's postgame comments, click here.
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Lauren Hein's golden goal in the 106th minute lifted UNCG's women's soccer team to a 1-0 win over Furman in a key Southern Conference match Sunday at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.
"I'm really proud of our team," UNCG coach Steve Nugent said. "You've got to give Furman a lot of credit. This is a tough place to come into and win. A lot of teams have tried and not too many have succeeded over the years. They have given us everything we can handle over the years. It's a rivalry, it's a game that we circle on our calendar, and what it comes down to in the end is who wants it more. We got a chance. We made the best of it. This is typically going to be the balance of the game when we play a team like Furman, who brings their best every time."
Playing in its second straight double overtime contest, UNCG (7-7-1, 6-1-1 SoCon) got the thrilling finish neither side could find in Friday's 1-1 draw with Wofford.
This time, the Spartans put together a fantastic string of passes to get Hein free in front of the net for the game-winner. Karin Sendel got things going in the midfield with a pass over the top of the Furman defense to Kristin Player near the corner of the 6-yard box. Player lifted a pass to the oncoming Hein far post and Hein headed it home to give UNCG the walk-off win.
The goal was her third of the season.
"Lauren Hein's been injured for a long time," Nugent said. "I feel terrible for her, because there's no one more passionate about UNCG soccer. She wants to play. Right now, she's limited in her minutes, but she made the best of her minutes today."
UNCG outshot Furman (9-7-1-, 4-3-1 SoCon) 14-9 on the afternoon, but solid scoring opportunities were few and far between for the two sides.
Furman's best chances came within moments of each other in the second half. In the 58th minute, the Paladins' India Robinson unleashed a long-range shot from the right wing that smacked off the near post. Less than a minute later, Rachel Shelnutt got off a shot in a scrum in front of UNCG's net that Spartan defender Stephanie Partenheimer was able to head over the crossbar for the team save. UNCG was able to clear the ensuing corner kick to keep the Paladins off the board.
UNCG's best chance in regulation came with about 11 minutes left, when Partenheimer connected with Hein on a long switch pass that got Hein behind the Furman defense. Furman keeper Jessica Smith made a sprawling save to her left and Player was ruled offside as her follow shot hit the post.
The Spartans also had a good look in the 74th minute, when freshman Casey McCavitt got a boot on classmate Ashley Stokes' corner kick. McCavitt's close-range attempt was blocked by a Furman defender to keep the game scoreless.
Smith came up with a big play just moments before Hein's strike in double overtime. After Sendel found Kaytee O'Brien with a pass in the offensive third of the field, O'Brien took the ball down to the touchline and fired a cross into the middle. Smith came off her line and punched the ball straight up to herself, then wrapped it up to prevent the Spartans from even getting a shot off on the play.
UNCG keeper Kelsey Kearney made four saves for UNCG, while Smith had two for the Paladins.
UNCG, which entered the game second in the SoCon standings, kept pace with the rest of the SoCon leaders with the win, as Samford (first place) and College of Charleston (third place) also picked up victories Sunday. Furman came into the game in fourth place in the league. The top four teams at the end of the regular season will host first-round games for the Southern Conference tournament, while the semifinals and final will be played at UNCG.
The Spartans will play their final road match of the regular season Friday at Western Carolina. Game time is set for 7 p.m. in Cullowhee, N.C.
UNCG 1, Furman 0 (2OT)
Goals by period 1 2 OT O2 Tot
Furman.............. 0 0 0 0 - 0
UNCG................ 0 0 0 1 - 1
1. 105:11 UNCG Lauren Hein (3) (Kristin Player;Karin Sendel)
Shots: Furman 9, UNCG 14; Saves: Furman 2 (Jessica Smith 2), UNCG 5 (Kelsey Kearney 4; TEAM 1); Corner kicks: Furman 4, UNCG 6; Fouls: Furman 6, UNCG 15.
- UNCG -