Controversial Handball Stymies Furman’s Late Rally Against UNCG

By: Greg Peterson, Sports Editor

All good things must come to end. Unfortunately, the Furman men’s soccer team found this old saying to be too true when they saw their rollercoaster season come to a dramatic end. The Paladins lost a 3-2 heartbreaker against University of North Carolina at Greensboro on Friday, Nov. 10 in the semifinal round of the Southern Conference Tournament.

The No. 3 seed Paladins (12-5-3) just did not have enough time to take care of business against No. 2 seed UNCG (10-7-2).

The Paladins found themselves facing an early deficit when UNCG midfielder Cyril Owolabi notched a goal in the left side of the box that slipped past freshman goalkeeper Ben Hale with 27:21 to go in the first half.

The score remained the same till halftime, but the Spartans raced out of the intermission and recorded the second goal of the match. UNCG forward Matt Matthis’ right foot booted the ball to the back of the net with just 52 seconds into the second half. The Spartans furthered their seemingly insurmountable lead with another Matthis goal with 58:37 to go in the match.

When all hope seemed to be lost, the Paladins continued to battle and eventually found the back of the net with sophomore midfielder Emory May’s header with 74:51 to go. After ten minutes of solid play, the Paladins notched their second goal of the match with senior Kyle McLagan’s shot with 5:41 left to go in regulation.

Furman’s comeback was officially on, and the comeback was seemingly complete when the Paladins found the back of the net during a scramble in the center of the box with less than one minute remaining in regulation. However, the goal was called back due to a controversial handball call, and the Paladins just did not have enough time to complete their furious comeback.

Despite the loss, the Paladins have no reason to hang their heads. This season saw the Paladins reach to number eight in the national polls and recorded major victories over the University of Denver and the Air Force Academy. Junior midfielder Laurence Wyke was named as the Southern Conference Player of the Year and both Wyke and senior defender Kevin Edelmann received first team All-SoCon honors. Freshman Cole McLagan, junior Danny Kierath, senior Kyle McLagan, and freshman Ben Hale received All-SoCon second team honors.

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 3.37.29 PM
Junior Connor Hubbard pushes the ball past three VMI defenders during the Paladins first round game against the VMI Keydets on Saturday Nov. 4. The Paladins won the match 7-1, but lost their second round and semifinal match against the UNCG Spartans on Friday, Nov. 10, 3-2. The Paladins had an excellent season, finishing with an overall record of 12-5-3 and were ranked no. eight in the nation earlier this season. Photo courtesy of Kristen Janes.


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