Last week, UNCG sports saw an assortment of games across multiple sports. And with the contests which had mixed results for the Spartans, members of the Blue and Gold were also honored with achievement for their play this season.
For some of these teams, such as the Men’s soccer, this weekend marked the completion of a great season, even though they fell in defeat in the Southern Conference (SoCon) postseason. In the case of the Volleyball team, this weekend saw the end of their regular season and the beginning of a tournament run they hope ends with a championship. And in the case of the women’s basketball team, this weekend marked the beginning of their 2015-16 season.
For the top seeded men’s soccer team, their superb season ended in heartbreak, falling to the No.4 ranked and hosting East Tennessee State University in a nail-biting shootout. Since both regular season matches against East Tennessee State ended in 1-1 ties, it would be expected that this match would be tied 1-1 by the end of the second overtime.
Tied 2-2 in the shootout, freshman goalie Jon Mulligan stopped the Buccaneers’ third shot, giving the Spartans a chance to win with a goal. However, Nicholas Downs’ potential game winner was stopped by ESTU goalie Jonny Sutherland.
With the next seven shots finding the back of the net for both sides, the Spartans blinked first when defender Jordan Poarch’s shot hit the iron, giving the Bucs a 6-5 victory in the shootout. Though the season did not end in the manner they would had liked to, the team put on an outstanding season for the campus. Individually, senior Jacques Francois leaves with winning the SoCon (Southern Conference) Player of the Year and freshman Leeroy Maguraushe was named the conference’s Freshman of the Year.
Playing their final two games this weekend on the road in South Carolina, the Volleyball team took Friday’s match against Wofford 3-1, only to fall to Furman the next day by the same score. Against Wofford, after losing the first set 22-25, the Spartans swept through the final three sets by the scores of 25-15, 25-20, and 25-16. Still, the first set did not tell the story of how the game was to be, as the Blue and Gold recorded a strong 18 kills and a .405 hit percentage in the first set’s defeat.
Ashley Muench authored a double double with a team high 14 kills and 15 digs. On Saturday, for the second seed in the SoCon tournament, Annie Bierman of the Paladins came out to play, recording an astounding 31 kills and nine digs for the game. Her .333 hit percentage was higher than all but Katherine Santiago on the Spartans side.
Aside from a overtime victory in the second set to tie the match going into halftime, the Paladins won out to gain the second seed in the Conference. On Saturday, the Spartans will open with Wofford for the tournament.
On the court, after taking their season opening on Friday in Fleming Gym against Pfeiffer University 71-52, the Women’s basketball team traveled to Columbia to face the No.2 nationally ranked South Carolina Gamecocks.
Lucy Mason’s game high 20 points was not nearly enough to hold back the offensive juggernaut of the Gamecocks. Her 20 points nearly matched the total points score for the team, 44. By comparison, South Carolina reached 53 points by the end of the first half. With a final score of 92-44, the Blue and Gold split their first two games of the season. Wednesday, the women will return home to face Francis Marion at 7pm.
With the end of seasons for different sports, so come the award seasons for Spartan players. Women’s soccer freshman Caylin Prillaman won the SoCon Freshman of the Year after coming off a season that saw her finish second on the team in goals (5) and points (12). For the cross country team, Kathleen Mansure finished off her impressive freshman year with team high 22.14 6K finish.
Throughout the season, Mansure finished No.1 on the team in both the 5,000 and 6,000 meter runs. She walks away with the Conference’s Freshman of the Year award.