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Spartans fall to crosstown rivals

Elon nets game winner in double overtime

Sports Editor

Published: Monday, October 11, 2010

Updated: Monday, October 11, 2010 13:10



The UNCG men’s soccer team fell in double-overtime to Elon 1-0 Saturday night at UNCG Soccer Stadium. Elon’s Gabe Latigue scored from 25 yards out on a low strike with 3 minutes left in overtime. The loss for UNCG (4-5-1) is the third in a row and drops the team to 0-1 in conference play.

“We’re very upset,” said Coach Justin Maullin. “With overtime it’s either elation or you’re going to be upset. It’s going to go one way or another. I thought the first half of the extra time  we were very good. I thought we were going to go on to win it and then a shot by their guy off the post and the game’s over.”

The Spartans had a number of chances in the first half to break open the scoring. Will Mack saw an early header in the box denied by keeper Clint Irwin, as was a cross by Kris Byrd into a crowd of UNCG white jerseys. Michael Bonilla, playing in his second game back from injury, sent a one-hop shot at the keeper in the 23rd minute. Hakan Ilhan also got a good look in the 25th minute with a shot inside the box, just saved on a dive in the left corner of the goal.

Elon would control the ball for much of the second part of the first half. In the 34th minute, Latigue placed a corner into the UNCG box. After the ball was cleared outside the 15, Elon’s Daniel Lovitz took a shot that was headed away by UNCG defender Mahdi Ali. The Phoenix took another corner with 11 minutes left in the half and a header by Nick Butterly hit the top of the crossbar and over.

With ten minutes left in the half, the Spartans’ Fannar Arnarsson drilled a shot 20 yards out into the Irwin’s chest. UNCG would be awarded 3 corners in the final minute, but Elon stood tall and the teams took a scoreless draw to half. Elon lead UNCG in shots after one half at 5-4.

Elon got off 3 shots in the first 3 minutes of the second half. Eli Garner gave UNCG their first scoring chance in the second half with a bending shot outside the 15 that was just saved by Irwin in the top left corner of the goal. Matt Strine got a shot off a corner that was saved by Irwin in the 60th minute.

The Spartans kept the pressure on in the 63rd minute with two good opportunities. Garner couldn’t get to a long thru ball before Irwin chased it down and minutes later, the Spartans blocked their own shot in the box. UNCG keeper Peyton Ford stole the ball from Chris Thomas on a drive to the goal in the 73rd minute.

Elon’s Latigue took a free kick that was blocked over the bar by Ford in the 75th minute. A shot by Ross Burki was saved by Irwin, who made another quick save on a rebound shot by Brian Graham. With three minutes left in regulation, Elon’s Denzel Ogunyase took a pass to the right of the box and missed an open net. That would be the last scoring threat on either side as the teams head into overtime tied at zero. Elon took a 16-11 scoring advantage into overtime.

The Spartans dominated the first overtime period with early chances to win the game. Strine lost the ball 8 minutes into the first overtime on a three on two break and minutes later, Hakan Ilhan sent a header off a corner just right of the goal. UNCG held Elon without a shot in the first overtime.

The Phoenix rebounded in the second overtime. Daniel Lovitz took a shot that sailed just wide of the net in the 114th minute. The following corner saw the ball bounce around dangerously inside the box before finally poked out of bounds by Ford. Seconds later, Latigue took a pass outside the box and drilled it through a crowd to score with 3:03 left on the clock.

The Spartans have a week off before their next game at Georgia Southern on Sunday, October 10. The team is hopeful this long break helps get them over their current four-game winless streak.

“We’ve been waiting for this time off for a long time,” said Maullin. “We’ve got a lot of injuries. We had three or four guys that gutted it out today and actually played through some injuries. We’re going to give them two full days off for the first time this year. We’ll get guys healthy and come back again Tuesday with two-a-days and a tough trip to Georgia Southern.”

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