The Bucs rallied at home for the last time this season on Tuesday against the University of North Carolina — Greensboro Spartans. With this being the final match of the regular season, it was important for the men’s soccer team to secure a win, and they did just that.
The Bucs came out on top 1-0 over the Spartans with a late first half goal by Joe Pickering (East Sussex, England), his third goal in three games as a freshman.
“The team is playing really well at the moment,” Pickering said. “We’re just grinding out results, which is the sign of a champion, really.”
The Bucs were strong all throughout the first half, with clean touches and solid control among all the players on the field.
Sophomore goalkeeper Jonny Sutherland (Chester, UK) and Head Coach Bo Oshoniyi believe the team nailed down communication in this game that resulted in some of the best soccer the team has played all year.
As a defensive team, the Bucs worked extremely well together to hold off UNCG to one shot in the first half and only ten overall (only 3 of which were considered on goal). UNCG is third in the country with most shots taken.
The Spartans pressured high in the last minutes of play, but the Bucs held their own.
“We’re a team within a team defensively I think,” Sutherland said. “We work as a back 5, back 6, back 7 if you include the holding midfielders as well, and there’s just good cohesion between us.”
Sutherland recorded his 8th shutout of the evening in this game, making this his 13th of his career. The Bucs collectively did not lose a match in Summers-Taylor Stadium all season.
This win means the Bucs hold the No. 2 seed in the conference and will battle at Mercer University on Saturday for the No. 1 seed overall. Looking at the SoCon tournament, the team wants to secure the first round, and a win against Mercer will ensure that.
In regular season play, the Bucs topped Mercer at home 2-0 with goals by Cameron Woodfin (Old Hickory, Tenn.) and Serge Gomis (Dakar, Senegal).
The Bucs are en route to meeting all the expectations they set for themselves at the beginning of the season, and Oshoniyi is ready to see the men perform against Mercer.
“This group hasn’t been in this situation too many times,” Oshoniyi said in reference to the game against UNCG. “It was good to see them rise to the occasion.”