UNCG has been known for coming up with upset wins, and on last Tuesday night, the Spartans notched another one. The Spartans cracked Campbell’s five-game winning streak with a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory.
The opening frame of the match consisted of tough defense, as the game remained scoreless at halftime. Faisal Almubaslat and Leeroy Maguraushe both had good looks at the goal, but Campbell’s goalkeeper Samuel Lechuga saved those goals from going in. The Spartan defense was spectacular, and largely regulated Campbell to their half of the field. The Camels were only able to release two shots for the entire first half, but the UNCG offense continued to fail to capitalize on opportunities. This was the sixth match in a row that the Spartans did not allow a goal in the first half.
The second half of the game involved more scoring as Campbell found the occasional pore in UNCG’s defense. The blue and gold struck first, scoring off of an own goal which was initiated by Austin Matthews’ long cross kick. The Spartans more-or-less maintained their stellar defense for the rest of the half, but did have one mistake.
UNCG committed a foul within the goal box, which gave Campbell the opportunity for a penalty kick. That penalty kick soared into the goal and notched the score at 1-1 for the rest of regulation, despite a fury of last-ditch attempts from both teams.
At the end of regulation, the Spartans finished with eleven shots and the Camels finished with only eight shots, though they did amount six in the second half. UNCG’s aggressiveness was key in their win against Campbell.
In overtime, the freshmen stepped up and helped seal the win for the Spartans. Only one shot was needed to put the Spartans on top. Jacob Pianell notched the game-winning goal in the 92nd minute, which was assisted by Brooks Rice. That goal was the third goal of the season for Pianell, and by far his most important. This was the second overtime victory in three games for the Spartans.
Keeper Jon Milligan finished with five saves for the game. Communication and leadership by Maguraushe and Josh Masten helped give the Spartans motivation to pull off the win.
The fans played a huge role in helping the Spartans pull off the upset. The 348 fans in the stands supported the Spartans throughout the entire match. They also gave Campbell the proper goodbye after one of their players received a red card. The G-Force is definitely helping their Spartans retain a positive attitude and energy when they’re out there on the pitch.
The Spartans now move to 4-5 on the year, a disappointing tally to open up the first half of the season with. For this week, the Spartans will take on the Belmont Bruins in a crucial conference matchup at UNCG Soccer Stadium at 7 p.m. on Saturday. They’ll need to continue their fine play to cash in on their lofty preseason expectations as conference play heats up. A SoCon championship is still well within reach for this hungry team.