GREENSBORO, N.C. – The sixth-seeded Belmont Bruins are set to take on the No. 2 seed UNC Greensboro Spartans in the Southern Conference Championship semifinal Sunday. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. CT at UNCG Soccer Stadium.
Belmont and the Spartans will meet for the second time in 2019, and the first-ever time in the SoCon postseason tournament on Sunday. UNC Greensboro holds a 2-0-1 advantage in the all-time series, as the two programs met less than a month ago in Nashville.
The Spartans came away with a 2-1 victory over the Bruins on Oct. 15 behind a pair of second-half goals. Still, six Belmont players recorded shots in the loss, as junior midfielder Kyle Barks led the Bruins with his first career goal in the 51st minute.
LAST TIME OUT: The No. 6 seed Belmont Bruins shut out the third-seeded ETSU Buccaneers 2-0 in the SoCon Championship quarterfinals Friday at UNCG Soccer Stadium. With the victory, the Bruins advance to the semifinals of the conference tournament for the first time since joining as a SoCon affiliate last year.
Junior midfielder Jack Shaw struck first for Belmont in the 16th minute on an assist from junior forward Jordan Dozzi and sophomore forward Niccolo Dagnoni, as Dagnoni sealed the quarterfinals win with an 83rd-minute penalty kick goal.
SCOUTING UNC GREENSBORO: The Spartans are led by first-year head coach Chris Rich, who posted an 8-8-1 (5-1-0 SoCon) record in his inaugural season in Greensboro. Rich most recently served as assistant coach at Duke for the last three seasons. UNC Greensboro last played on Nov. 2, as it notched a 3-1 home victory over Old Dominion in its regular season finale. The Spartans have not played a conference opponent since Oct. 29 but enter the SoCon Championship semifinal on a three-match winning streak.
SHOWING OUT: Sophomore goalkeeper Cameron Petty logged his second-consecutive clean sheet with three saves against ETSU. The Bruins now have four total shutouts this season, as Petty holds the fourth-best goals against average in the SoCon (1.34).
HIGH-OCTANE ATTACK: Belmont has fired a combined 34 shots and 19 shots on goal in its 2019 postseason run. The Bruins have also added six goals over the last two matches, which is tied for the most scores in consecutive matches for the team this year.
UP NEXT: The winner of the semifinals match advances to the SoCon Championship to play either No. 4 seed Mercer or top-seeded Furman. The match will be hosted by the highest remaining seed.