Wilmington, N.C. -- Redshirt-sophomore Ben Hale notched four saves and denied UNCW’s Wilhelm Nilsson in the third round of penalty kicks to help Furman advance past the Seahawks following a 0-0 draw in the opening round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament Thursday night at the UNCW Soccer Stadium.
The Paladins (13-6-2) advance to face No. 10 seed Virginia in second round action on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Charlottesville, Va.
After 110 minutes of scoreless soccer Emery May and Josiah Baker buried penalty kicks to keep Furman even at 2-2 through two rounds of the shootout. In the third round, Hale helped himself by firing his shot over the shoulder of Seahawk goalkeeper Ryan Cretens to put the Paladins in front before making a diving save to his right to deny Nilsson. Furman’s Laurence Wyke and UNCW’s Cesar Cruz traded makes in the fourth round, but the Paladins’ Cole McLagan converted in the fifth round to punch the Paladins ticket to the second round with a 5-3 margin.
Cretens and Hale each notched four saves as the Seahawks compiled an 11-9 edge in total shots. After Furman’s Danny Kierath forced the only save of the first half, it was UNCW (12-5-3) that forced Hale to stop four shots over the second 45 minutes to send the match to overtime. The Paladins created the only chance on goal in the two 10-minute extra periods when McLagan hit a bouncing shot that Cretens smothered in the 103rd minute.
The draw marked the fourth straight in NCAA Tournament play for the Paladins who played to a 1-1 draw at South Carolina in the opening round of the 2015 tournament before being eliminated on penalty kicks. In 2014, Furman eliminated UAB in an opening round shootout before seeing its tournament run come to en end in the ninth round of a shootout at Washington.
Sunday’s match at Klockner Stadium between the Paladins and Cavaliers will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra. Tickets, which are available at VirginiaSports.com, are $8 for a reserved seat and $5 for a general admission seat. The winner of Sunday’s tilt will advance to face either No. 7 seed Notre Dame or Michigan in round of 16 action on November 25.