Quintonio Lema and his University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) Men’s Soccer teammates scored a season-best eight goals in the regular season finale as they posted an 8-1 victory over Southern Conference foe VMI on Senior Night at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.
The victory keeps UNCG in a tie for third place in the SoCon standings but will be the fourth seed in the upcoming tournament.
UNCG will host a Quarter-Final contest against fifth-seeded and rival Furman Saturday night at the UNCG Soccer Stadium. Game time is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on the SoCon Digital Network. Wofford will host VMI in the other Quarter-Final contest while ETSU (#1) and Mercer (#2) earned byes to the Semi-Finals.
Six different players found the back of the net for UNCG with freshman Casey Penland and sophomore Alexander Lewis leading the way with two goals apiece.
UNCG opened the scoring in the 12th minute of play as Penland headed home a corner kick from sophomore Matteo Busio for his third of the season. Penland found the back of the net again exactly four minutes later to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead. This one came off a long throw in from Austin Matthews to senior Damieon Thomas.
Thomas ripped a shot off a throw in that VMI goalkeeper Robert Allen saved but Penland pounced on the rebound for the goal.
UNCG extended its lead to 3-0 in the 26th minute as senior Lema made a long run and sent a cross into the box where Lewis deposited it past Allen for his first of the night.
UNCG took a 4-0 lead in the 29th minute of play off another corner kick as Busio found Faisal Almubaslat at the top of the 18-yard box. Almubaslat fired a shot that hit off the cross bard and junior Eric Gunnarsson was there to clean up the rebound on the goal line for his second of the season.+
VMI scored its lone goal in the 41st minute of play as the Keydets took advantage of a UNCG miscue on the back line. Alex Hartman took the turnover in on goal and beat senior Logan Rohde on the breakaway to trim the gap to 4-1.
UNCG kept coming and scored their fifth in the 59th minute of play as Thomas dazzled the crowd. He took a ball at the top of the 18-yard box and flicked it over a VMI defender before running onto the ball again and powering it past Allen for his eighth of the season.
Thomas played a part in UNCG’s sixth goal just 1:13 later as he drove down the right side and fired a cross to the top of the 18-yard box. Busio was there and rocketed a shot from 18-yards out for his first goal of the season. UNCG made it a 7-1 advantage in the 66th minute of play as Lewis scored his second of the game.
UNCG closed out the scoring in the 86th minute of play as Almubaslat took a cross from freshman Tavion Webb six-yards out and beat Allen for his third goal of the year.
Allen finished the night allowing eight goals in 90 minutes but made 14 saves on the night. Rohde played 68:16 in goal, making two saves in the victory.