By Brandon Boyer, Staff Writer
Published in print Oct. 8, 2014
UNCG Men’s soccer officially opened up Southern Conference play last week, by drawing against Furman on the last day of September and finally cracking open the wins column by defeating Wofford in overtime this past weekend.
The Spartans were on the road to begin the week to face off against Furman to begin SoCon play. Furman came into the match on a six-match unbeaten run and were ranked 22 in the nation. UNCG had yet to have fortunes play in their favor this season, despite having a talented squad.
The hosting Paladins dominated the game throughout, providing a flurry of offensive output throughout the game. With 21 shots in regulation time, Furman had plenty of opportunities to take the lead against a shaky UNCG side. However, only seven of those shots managed to be on frame, which was saved by freshman goalkeeper William Pyle, who has been fantastic for the Spartans as of late.
The Blue and Gold offense was nearly non-existent in its presence in the offensive third, with the team attempting 10 shots in total, with only 3 of those 10 shots managing to test Sven Lissek of Furman.
In a game that finished 0-0 after 110 minutes of play, the only real action of note was the sending off of Aaron Reifschneider in the 94th minute, following two yellow -card infractions within three minutes. This left the 10-man Spartans vulnerable in overtime, but UNCG pressed on and tested the Furman’s goalkeeper three more times after Reifschneider’s dismissal.
In the second match of the week, UNCG finally came home to host Wofford in a special night for the Spartans.
In attendance were the 1985, 1986 and 1987 National Championship Spartans teams, there to be inducted into the UNCG Athletics Hall of Fame. These teams of legend helped lead the Spartans to three of their five national championships at the Division III Level of the NCAA. UNCG won five national championships in six years between 1982 and 1987, only missing out on the 1984 title.
These teams were witness to the Spartans first win of the season as the ever-cooling grip of October began to embrace North Carolina.
While still being ineffective on offense, with the visiting Terriers reeling off 23 shots to UNCG’s 12, the Spartams made it matter the most as the team picked quality of shots over quantity. Tommi Gardarsson opened up the scoring in the 55th minute from the penalty spot.
This galvanized the legs of Wofford, with the Terriers managing to level the score in the 75th minute of the affair. Matthew Aurednik latched on to a long ball on the counterattack for Wofford and slotted the tally home for his league-leading eighth goal of the season.
As neither side was able to break the deadlock, extra time beckoned for the teams as the temperature continued to drop.
In most sports, overtime is where heroes of the day are made. It’s where the limits of athletic ability is reached, pushed, stretched, and broken. On this day, overtime made a hero of UNCG’s redshirt sophomore Christopher Reingen.
With college still playing the golden goal rule that was abandoned by all levels of the sport except for the NCAA and the Beach Soccer World Cup in 2004, Reingen managed to slot home the winning goal in the 102nd minute of the game, causing the UNCG’ bench to pour onto the field in celebration. These celebrations were of a team too long frustrated by being on the wrong end of one goal deciding games and endless draws.
“For us to get a win in front of our alumni on such a special weekend is a very fitting way to cap the festivities. Our alumni built this program and we wanted to reward and honor them with a great win tonight,” said Coach Justin Maullin to UNCGSpartans.a year and a half ago, doctors told him he would never be able to play again with his injury.”
Reingen attested to this comeback and noted what it meant to him. “Personally for me, this goal means a lot to me as I was out for a long time and had to go back home for surgery,” Reingen said to UNCGSpartans.com. “It was a long road back and finally getting a goal …it’s a great feeling.”