WILMINGTON, North Carolina – In a matchup of two of the top-scoring men’s soccer teams in the nation, it all came down to penalty kicks.
Furman outlasted UNCW, 5-3, in the penalty kick shootout of Thursday night’s NCAA Division I Championship first round game at UNCW Soccer Stadium on Thursday night after the teams battled to a scoreless draw.
The Southern Conference champion Paladins, who saw their record move to 13-6-2, advance to Sunday’s second round contest at No. 10 national seed Virginia. UNCW, meanwhile, had its season come to an end with a 12-5-3 mark.
After the teams exchanged a pair of made penalty kicks to begin the shootout, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Ben Hale gave Furman a 3-2 advantage before stopping an attempt by UNCW junior defender Wilhelm Nilsson.
Senior midfielder Lawrence Wyke upped the margin to 4-2 by converting his attempt before UNCW freshman Cesar Cruz narrowed the gap to 4-3 with a made try.
Redshirt sophomore forward Cole McLagan ended the shootout when he made the Paladins’ fifth attempt.
Hale made four saves in the contest to earn his eighth shutout of the season for Furman while redshirt senior goalkeeper Ryan Cretens notched four saves en route to the 21st solo shutout of his college career.