GREENSBORO, N.C. (Nov. 8, 2014) – Fourth-seeded UNC Greensboro survived a back-and-forth bout with No. 5 ETSU Saturday night in the SoCon Quarterfinals in Greensboro, N.C., earning a 2-1 win in double overtime to advance to the league semifinals.
UNCG junior forward Jacques Francois scored both of the Spartans' (6-11-2) goals—one in the 77th minute and another in the 104th minute—dashing ETSU's tournament hopes and ending the Bucs' season.
The match was tightly contested from start to finish, with UNCG’s Austin Miller forcing ETSU goalkeeper Daniel Adelman (Johnson City, Tenn.) to make an acrobatic, leaping save just one minute into regulation to help the Buccaneers (7-10-1) avoid an early deficit. Adelman finished with seven saves on the night, just one shy of his career high of eight set earlier this season versus Wofford.
ETSU and the Spartans both attempted eight shots in the opening half, with the Bucs creating several quality scoring chances, including a ninth-minute strike from Joao Ramalho (Monte Santo, Brazil) that sailed just wide right following a pass from senior co-captain Jeremy Saad (Sydney, Australia).
In the 33rd minute, Saad served a ball into the box off a corner kick that fellow senior Nick Muth (Knoxville, Tenn.) got a head on; however, UNCG’s William Pyle made one of his three first-half saves.
The teams headed into intermission knotted in a scoreless deadlock, setting up a second half that featured some of the most exciting, high-stress moments of the Bucs' season.
Within a four-second span in the 73rd minute, Adleman made two leaping saves for ETSU. After thwarting a Christopher Reingen shot attempt, Adleman recovered excellently to turn away a strike by Francois.
Moments later, it seemed the Spartans had taken control of the match, with Lukas Zarges appearing to net a go-ahead goal off an assist from Aaron Reifschneider; however, after deliberating, the officials overturned the goal, citing a UNCG offside.
Despite playing the match's final stretch in front of a revived, raucous UNCG crowd of 569, the Bucs captured a 1-0 lead in the 77th minute, with Ramalho besting Pyle on a strike from the left side.
However, just 24 seconds later, the Spartans responded with a goal of their own, as Francois scored, unassisted, at the 76:26 mark. Francois netted the golden-goal game-winner when ETSU and UNCG met Tuesday, Oct. 28 in Johnson City.
With their seasons on the line, UNCG and ETSU each incurred yellow cards in the 90th and 91st minutes, respectively. UNCG’s Jake Fields was given a caution in the 90th minute, while ETSU’s Thibault Civalier (Nice, France) received one just 61 seconds later. Later on, Saad received a caution at the 99:58 mark.
After playing through a scoreless 10-minute overtime, the teams entered a second period of extra time, and at the 103:54 mark, Francois scored his second goal of the game to give UNCG the 2-1 victory. All three of Francois' scores this season came against ETSU: two game-winning goals and one game-tying goal.
The Spartans will take on top-seeded Mercer Thursday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m., in a semifinal match, while No. 2 Wofford and No. 3 Furman will face off in the other semifinal beforehand at 5:00 p.m. Both matches will take place in Greensboro.
To continue following the Southern Conference Men's Soccer Championship, visit SoConSports.com.
VIDEO: Postgame with Head Coach Bo Oshoniyi
PHOTOS: To view a photo gallery of Saturday's match, click here.
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