Isaiah Saint Hilaire
The UNCG men’s and women’s soccer team both competed against in-conference opponents this past weekend here in Greensboro. While the men suffered a 2-1 loss to ETSU, the women grinded out a tough 1-0 win over VMI.
It was a battle of two of the best defenses in the Southern Conference with ETSU and UNCG. They only allowed 16 shots throughout the whole match (9-7 in favor of ETSU). However, those shots that came were hard-earned shots. Mid-fielder, Nelson Oceano, sneaked his way past the goalkeeper for ETSU which resulted in UNCG’s only goal for the game. With Jon Milligan playing all 90 minutes of the game, he managed to compile four saves, with three of them coming in the second half. The women shared more success against VMI, in which they outlasted the Keydets 1-0 in a tough match. Defender, Regan Lehman, had three shots and led the Spartans with the only goal scored. This match was much tougher than any other match as they didn’t score the goal until hallway through the second half of the game. But when they did, the crowd went insane as Lehman dazzled everybody in the stands.
It’s a bittersweet ending for Spartans if you follow the men and women Soccer teams. While the men’s loss drops them to 6-6-2 overall and 3-2-1 in the Southern Conference, the women improve to 6-7-3 overall and 3-2-2 in the SoCon. Forward Sienna Rideout compiled her first assist of the season with an amazing side-foot kick to Lehman for the goal. The crowd was intense on the humid, windy 75-degree afternoon. The crowd would go back and forth as the women would bring the ball close to VMI’s goalkeeper, but simply could not get it in on multiple chances during the first half. It was interesting to see them take fundamental shots at VMI’s goalkeeper and not make them. There were chances in which they had the goalie cornered at a specific part of the goal and couldn’t kick the ball into the goal, as it instead, ended up being out of bounds.
In the first half, each team was limited to just one chance at scoring a goal. The men’s chance came a little over halfway through the first half of play. Maguraushe dribbled the ball toward Oceano who attempted to score but the ETSU goalkeeper said no to that attempt. Gunnarsson scored the Spartans’ only goal following a corner kick from Oceano. It was clear the Spartans had been struggling to produce offense as they managed only one goal and gave up two. Still, while the men’s team loss affects their conference record, they still have a chance to redeem themselves in future conference games.
The women scored the only goal in the 70 minute which was the equalizer. VMI struggled to get the ball to UNCG’s side of the field a plethora of times. They could not find that shot they had been yearning for throughout the whole game. It was a battle of defense as both teams recognized that the defenders on each time were not going down without a fight.
While both men and women had different outcomes to their games, they still have the rest of the season to look forward to with their remaining conference games. This homecoming weekend, the men and women are both hosting conference rivals to hopefully move up from their current rankings of third.
The men will host the Mercer Bears Saturday evening for Senior Day. Last time the two teams competed against each other, it took a double overtime goal from from freshman forward Thordur Johannesson to give the Spartans the win. On the women’s side, the will find themselves squaring off against Mercer as well, as the Bears nip at the heels of UNCG’s third ranking in the conference, before closing out their regular season Sunday afternoon against the winless Citadel Bulldogs.