SPARTANBURG, S.C. – ETSU topped Wofford 4-1 on Saturday to lock up its second straight Southern Conference regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming SoCon Men’s Soccer Championship in Greenville, South Carolina.
The Bucs finished the regular season with a 9-2-6 overall record and a 6-0-4 SoCon mark for their first-ever unbeaten league slate. ETSU, paced on offense Danny Barlow’s 12 points (five goals, two assists) and on defense by keeper Jonny Sutherland’s 0.76 goals against average, will face either No. 4 seed Mercer or No. 5 seed Wofford in the SoCon semifinals on Nov. 10 at 3:30 p.m. ETSU went 1-0-1 against Mercer and 2-0-0 against Wofford this year.
Mercer and Wofford will meet in Macon, Georgia, on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. The Bears went 6-8-4 in the regular season and 4-4-2 in SoCon play, wrapping up their season with a 7-0 win over VMI on Saturday to move up a spot in the league standings and secure hosting duties.
Wofford finished its regular season at 4-14 overall and 4-6 in league play. The Terriers entered Saturday’s match at ETSU with a chance to finish as high as the 3 seed but dropped their second contest in a row to finish the regular season after moving to .500 in SoCon play late in the year.
Mercer swept both regular-season meetings between the squads this year.
On the other side of the bracket, UNCG claimed the No. 2 seed. The Spartans went 6-3-1 in conference play, scoring 21 goals, which tied Wofford for most goals scored in SoCon matches. UNCG, which finished 9-7-2 overall, boasts five players who scored three or more goals. Junior goalkeeper Jon Milligan posted a goals against average of 0.80, earning SoCon Player of the Week honors in back-to-back weeks (Sept. 26, Oct. 3).
The Spartans will face either No. 3 seed Furman or No. 6 seed VMI in the tournament semifinals on Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. UNCG was 1-1-0 against Furman and 2-0-0 against VMI this season.
Furman finished the season 11-4-3 overall, going 5-2-3 in SoCon play. The Paladins offense was led by Laurence Wyke, who had seven goals and four assists. Furman has five other players who totaled three or more goals, including Danny Kiereth, who led the team with six assists. The Paladins had a stalwart in net, as goalkeeper Ben Hale went 10-4-3 in his freshman season with a goals against average of 0.86.
VMI went 0-15-2 overall and 0-10 in the SoCon this season. Furman, who was victorious in both matches, will host the Keydets at 5 p.m. in the quarterfinal round on Nov. 4
The championship match will take place Sunday, Nov. 12, at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
The tournament winner earns the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship.
2017 SoCon Men’s Soccer Championship
Quarterfinal Round, Saturday, Nov. 4
Campus sites (at higher seeds)
Match 1: No. 5 Wofford at No. 4 Mercer, 7 p.m.
Match 2: No. 6 VMI at No. 3 Furman, 5 p.m.
Semifinals, Friday, Nov. 10
Match 3: No. 1 ETSU vs. Match 1 winner, 3:30 p.m. (SDN)
Match 4: No. 2 UNCG vs. Match 2 winner, 6 p.m. (SDN)
Championship, Sunday, Nov. 12
Match 5: Match 3 winner vs. Match 4 winner, 1 p.m. (ESPN3)