RALEIGH, N.C.—Jordy Briceno’s 65th-minute goal proved to be the game-winning goal of the USA South Athletic Conference (USA South) East Division Final as fourth-seeded Greensboro College claimed a Sunday afternoon victory over second-seeded William Peace University, 1-0.
Both sides traded possession advantages for most of the first half. William Peace produced the first serious opportunity as Nathan Seery’s shot hit the crossbar in the 14th minute. The Pride countered in the 19th minute as Dawson Christina challenged William Peace goalkeeper Jacob Smith with a shot that Smith saved. The Pride continued to apply pressure, finding space in the Pacers’ 18-yard box. Shelly Scott received service from the right side as he was leaping to the left post, but Scott’s header went wide. The Pacers obtained several opportunities in the final minutes of the period as both sides finished the half scoreless.
Greensboro (7-3) resumed their pressure on William Peace (5-2-2) as the second half began. In the 54th minute as Christian Thomas crossed a ball into the central box where Briceno got a piece of the pass, but Smith deflected the ball out of the area. The Pacers countered with a 25-yard shot from Jorge Aguilar through traffic, but Greensboro goalkeeper Elmer Martinez read the shot and deflected the ball out unharmed.
The Pride broke the ice in the 65th minute as Greensboro made four successful passes through the midfield and then settled the ball. Briceno took three dribbles past a defender and then fired a 25-yard shot from the left side into the right corner of the goal to lift the Pride to the lead.
William Peace pressured in the final minutes of the half, posting three offensive chances. In the 89th minute, the Pacers sent a ball into the box that deflected quickly off of Jose Garcia. Martinez quickly reacted in his six-yard box and read the deflection to make the save. The Pacers put up a final attempt in the closing seconds of the match on a cross from the right after a free kick, but the Pride held to claim the East Division crown.
William Peace held a narrow 13-12 advantage in shots while the Pride held a 6-3 edge in shots on goal. The Pacers claimed a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Martinez (6-3) took the win for the Pride in net, making three saves. Smith (5-2-2) took the loss for William Peace in net as he posted a five-save effort.
The Pride claimed the USA South’s East Division title to wrap up the 2021 Spring season. The Pride, along with the USA South, played an abbreviated schedule from what would have been the 2020 season in order to play meaningful competition this academic year and separated championships for each the East and West Division. The Pride looks forward to returning to a normal, full regular season in the Fall.
Courtesy of Bryan Jones, Greensboro College Sports Information Director