Furman Men’s Soccer team kicked off their 2022 Southern Conference Championship run on Nov. 4, Friday versus #4 seed Wofford in quarterfinal round action in Greensboro, NC. The winner was to advance to play #1 seed UNC Greensboro in the semifinal round on Nov. 6, Sunday.
The fifth-seeded Paladins triumphed over VMI 2-1 in the regular season finale and entered the postseason at 6-6-4. The quarterfinal game marked the 58th all-time clash between the Dins and Terriers, with Wofford downing Furman 2-0 at Stone Stadium in the regular season meeting between the schools on Oct. 15.
This time; however, the Dins set the tone early in the game. Furman netted three goals in the opening 28 minutes to claim the victory versus Wofford 3-2 at UNCG Stadium. “This is a great win for us,” remarked Paladin head coach Doug Allison, the winningest coach in SoCon history. “Any win this time of year is a great win. I am happy for Jake Raine. He has been waiting all season to get back off injury. He makes a big difference for us.”
Junior Jake Raine, who appeared in only five matches this season due to his injury, scored a brace in the quarter-final battle. The Stoke, England native was Furman’s leading scorer last year, so none of us were surprised by his goals that staked Furman to a 2-0 lead early in the match. Two minutes after the referee blew his whistle to start play, Alfredo Diaz-Santillan darted down the left side and played a low cross through the box that Raine slid onto and touched inside the far post at 2:13. This duo helped double the lead at 11:09 when Diaz-Santillan ripped a shot from the left side of the box that the goalkeeper redirected into Raine’s path.
Wofford halved the Din lead on Nikola Rojel’s 21st-minute strike. But senior Sam Miller curled a left-footed corner kick towards the far post, followed by junior Dylan Lane’s shot off the back of defense and inside the left post at 27:53 to restore Furman’s two-goal lead. 3-1.
Despite Hugo Moldin’s goal in the 36th minute, Furman’s defense was rock-solid for the rest of the game. This 3-2 win over the Wofford Terriers upped Furman to the semifinal round versus UNC Greensboro.
Ranked 9th in the nation and 1st in SoCon, UNCG Greensboro was a tough matchup to advance to the SoCon Men’s Soccer Championship match. Marco Alonso, who rejected three Major League Soccer (MLS) offers during his collegiate career, netted a hat trick to power UNC Greensboro to a 6-3 victory in the semifinal round. Heading into the locker room 3-0 down, the Paladins got on the board early in the second half on Jake Raine’s third goal of the post-season. Senior Josh Hosie crossed into the box from the right side, and Raine finished at the near post in the 54th minute to trim the deficit to 3-1. UNCG’s Maycol Reyes immediately answered as he struck a left-footed rocket into the upper 90 from outside the box after a Spartan free kick in the 55th minute. Raine squeezed another brace into Furman’s two-game postseason run following an errant back pass, which resulted in a breakaway goal for him. With 32 minutes on the clock and a two-goal difference, Jack Raine reignited Furman’s hopes. Unfortunately, UNCG Greensboro got away with a 6-3 victory and advanced to the SoCon Men’s Soccer Championship match versus Mercer, who downed ETSU in the semifinal contest 1-0.
Furman Men’s Soccer Team concluded the 2022 campaign at 7-7-4. We are proud of our boys for their enthusiasm throughout the season on and off the pitch. Sophomores Ivan Agyaakwah, Devansh Mehta, Reece Fragle, and Cameron Maung-Maung have already displayed glimpses of what they are capable of. With freshmen like Lashawn Brown already getting plenty of playing time and making a difference on the pitch, the future is bright.