UNCG Men’s Soccer Moving on to the Elite 8 at the DI Level for the First Time in School History:Bringing Back “The Thrill” to the old hill, there on the campus

Back in the old days of UNCG Men’s Soccer on the DIII level, the Spartans would rack up National Championships playing in front of huge crowds, that filled “The Hill” at the old UNCG soccer facility, there on campus…Back in those days, yes back in the mid-to-late 1980’s, there was no charge to see the games…Yes, everyone got in for free, as the case was back in the days of DIII ball…

It was back when Coach Mike Berticelli and top players like Eddie Radwanski were leading the charges, and after Coach Berticelli left to go coach the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Coach Michael Parker came into the program, and the UNCG Spartans didn’t miss a beat, as they continued their national dominance at the DIII level, and later carried on that same theme at DII and then eventually they moved up to DI, with Coach Parker still being the driving force behind the team…

From the cold days in early December, when the fans used to line and fill up that steep hill just above the UNCG soccer field, to now…Now, the times have really changed and progressed for the better…Better and now we have the best…What now looks to be the Best Men’s Soccer Team in UNCG school history…Even better than back when Eddie Radwanski, Brian Japp, Doug Hamilton, and guys like Mike Gailey and Jason Haupt were making history for the Spartans, and their men’s soccer program…

Now we have a UNCG Men’s Soccer Team in the NCAA Elite 8…The field is down to just eight(8) teams and UNCG is still in the field, yes our team from Greensboro is still in the hunt…This might not be football, but it is futbol, and it is Spartan Time in the old Gate City…

Remember the days of the Greensboro Dynamo??? Well, we have a sort of Dynamo movement happening again…Our USSL Greensboro Dynamo became National Champions….Now our Greensboro DI Men’s Soccer team, the UNCG Spartans are battling for the NCAA Men’s Soccer National Championship…

The time is now…Now is the time to set sail with the Spartans…Let’s support this local effort and help them as they make a push to bring another Soccer National Championship to Greensboro…Let’s all get behind Coach Chris Rich and his band of Futbol Players…The Greensboro Kickers, the Greensboro Dynamo, the old UNC-Greensboro Spartans…And now the 2022 UNCG Spartans have arrived…

Great job by the local team, as they head into the Elite Eight(8)…Pull for them to keep it straight, as they prepare to meet the Indiana Hoosiers in the next Round this Saturday at 5pm(Going with the 5pm opening kick, in Eastern Standard Time)….This game will be played at the UNCG Spartans Soccer Stadium…This again will be the first Elite 8 for the Spartans, but for Indiana, this will be the Hoosiers 28th trip to the Elite 8….

UNCG is going need all of the support from within our local community, as they get ready for this BIG matchup on Saturday night….

Support the Spartans and let’s see them make history again this Saturday evening, at the UNCG Spartans Soccer Stadium…It is time for the fans to head back to “The Hill”, and bring back “The Thrill” of UNCG Championship Soccer….
(Game time at 5pm)

from www.uncgspartans.com:
No. 12 Men’s Soccer Dances to Elite 8 After Penalty Shootout Against No. 5 Stanford

Next Game:
vs. No. 13 Indiana
5 PM EST/Eastern Standard Time Saturday December 3

STANFORD, CALIF. – The No. 12 UNC Greensboro (UNCG) men’s soccer team will be advancing, for the first time in the Spartans’ Division I history, to the NCAA Division I Elite 8 after moving on following a penalty shootout against No. 5 Stanford.

The Spartans tied the Cardinal 1-1 following regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods. UNCG then upset Stanford in a penalty shootout with a score of 3-1.

The round of 16 was the fourth time in Division I program history for the Spartans, after earning their 21st bid as a program and 12th Division I ticket after winning the 2022 SoCon Tournament.

UNCG is now 8-9-3 overall in NCAA Division I Tournament play with its first match in program history against Stanford.

From Head Coach Chris Rich
“Another incredible moment by our group. Obviously an extremely difficult game against a top Stanford team. They are challenging to prepare for and they are difficult to play against. There are so many set piece moments you have to deal with, so many crosses, penalty box entries. But, the guys were resilient all night. They had a gutsy performance because it required a lot to deal with those moments and I am so proud of the way they fought all game.

“Obviously, going into regulation and then overtime, we felt we were going to win. It is never a guarantee, but our belief was high all game. Once we got to the PK shootout, we were super confident. We know we have a top goalkeeper in PK shootouts in Isaac and we knew we were prepared for that moment. Our guys were excellent in the shootout, Isaac was surreal saving the first three.”

“I am so proud of our program, our guys, our staff, our university. This is a great accomplishment for everyone and it feels super incredible to be in the Elite 8.”

From sophomore goalkeeper Isaac Briner
“It is a feeling I can’t really explain. To come over the west coast and to move the team on to the Elite 8 is something very special and something I will never forget. On top of that, to do it in front of my family and close to my hometown was even more special. It is something I will never forget.

The team chemistry is unbelievable, and we really are a family. In games like this, a family really comes together and without everyone playing their part in this game, we would not be standing here moving on to the Elite 8. It took every single person completing their role and stepping up when needed to really push us through. It comes down to the family mentality and what our coaches built here.”

How it Happened
UNCG and Stanford both settled into each other’s intense style of play, as the Spartans saw two early corner kicks in the first 10 minutes. The Cardinal reacted and tallied two shots and a corner kick of their own in the following three minutes. In the next five minutes of play, UNCG had three more corner kicks and Ismail El Harchi connected for the first shot on goal of the game in the 17th minute.

In the 21st minute, J.C. Ngando took a defender down the right side of the field and the Cardinal back heeled it to clear the ball, but the sophomore midfielder was still around to collect the mis-disposition. Ngando then took the ball into the 18-yard box to cut it back to a charging Marco Afonso who hit a one-timer with his left foot for a 1-0 lead at 20:02.

Stanford responded at 25:46 with its own tally from Cam Cilley who struck the ball to the back of the net just outside of the 18-yard box after collecting a pass from Keegan Tingey. Tingey had just played the ball off a defender to capitalize on the moment inside the box.

At the end of regulation, Stanford held the shot advantage, 9-3. The Cardinal also held the advantage in the first and second overtimes tallying three total shots.

After two, 10-minute overtime periods, UNCG and Stanford got set for a penalty shootout, where once again the Spartans substituted Isaac Briner in for Niclas Wild in net. The first attempt by the Cardinal was stopped by Briner, while Basile Marc’s kick found the back of the net. Stanford and UNCG’s attempts were both missed in round two. Stanford’s third attempt was also stopped by Briner, as Ethan Conley scored to put UNCG up, 2-0. Even though Stanford’s Connor Evans made the fourth attempt, the Spartans prevailed as Emmanuel Hagan put away the game with his final kick and a scored of 3-1.

Coach Rich on being the first UNCG team to make the Division I Elite 8
“It is indescribable. This has been a process of building this program to where it is. This program has a history of success in postseason, especially in Division III. It made some runs in Division I back in the early 2000s. But to be the first team to make it to the Elite 8 in Division I history is a special moment for these guys, for our staff, for the university. We are thrilled, pumped, excited – all the words. We are going to enjoy this for sure tonight and then tomorrow we will turn to recovery, traveling back and preparing for a very good Indiana team.”