FLORENCE, S.C. – Freshman midfielder Alvaro Zamora scored in the 10th minute and sophomore forward Sidney Warden added an insurance tally in the 51st minute as fourth-seeded Francis Marion University blanked fifth-seeded University of North Georgia 2-0 on Tuesday in the quarterfinal round of the 2019 Peach Belt Conference Men’s Soccer Tournament.
Junior goalkeeper Maximiliano Rocco posted his school-record 10th shutout of the year in the victory as well as Francis Marion upped its record to 13-4-1, the most wins for the program in 11 seasons.
First-year coach Luis Rincon’s squad advances to face top-seeded and ninth-ranked Young Harris College in Friday’s 5 p.m. semifinal at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Ga. The tournament title match is set for Sunday at 3 p.m., also in Evans.
FMU out-shot the Nighthawks 19-7, including a commanding 9-1 edge over the opening 45 minutes. The Patriots held a slight 4-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Rocco registered four saves, most relatively easy, en route to his 10 shutout breaking the old Patriot mark of nine set by Mike Warn during the 2014 campaign.
UNG ends its season at 6-10-1. Nighthawk keeper Luis Lepervanche recorded six saves.
The opening score came at 9:29 after Zamora took a lay-off from sophomore Nestor Nunez at midfield, made a long run down the left side of the field, then cut back, and fired a12-yard shot into the netting near the far post. It was his fifth score of the year.
The Patriots had several opportunities to double the margin before halftime, but came up empty. Senior midfielder Travis Cooke tried a chip shot over an on-coming Lepervanche in the 20th minute, but the attempt sailed wide right of the open net. At 26:15, Warden sent a 16-yard blast at the UNG keeper that he was able to push over the crossbar with a two-handed save.
Beginning late in the 39th minute, Warden had back-to-back shot attempts from inside the penalty are, but Lepervanche stopped one and the other was blocked and deflected out for a corner kick. On the ensuing corner by sophomore Oliver Peters, Cooke’s high kick from close range sailed over the crossbar.
Warden finally upped the margin to 2-0 with a pwerful strike from 14 yards out on the right side that bulleted into the upper netting. Cooke’s through ball led to the tally. Warden is now second on the FMU squad with six goals and leads the Patriots with 16 points.
At the 54:52 mark, North Georgia’s Andrei Bajura tried to catch Rocco off-balance as he took a quick restart on a free kick from 40 yards out and went for goal, but the attempt flew wide right. Less than a minute later, Donovan Odier’s hard shot from 19 yards sailed over the crossbar.
Cooke looked to add another insurance goal in the 57th minute with a header from the 6-yard box, but Lepervanche was up to the challenge and pushed the ball over the crossbar for a Patriot corner kick.
The Nighthawks had one last serious chance to cut the margin in half, with a free kick from close range in the 76th minute. Jordan Day took the set piece from 19 yards out on the right side and his shot was on target, but Rocco denied it and the resulting save ended in a Nighthawk corner.
Warden and Cooke each had five shots for the Patriots.
FMU’s Millians named PBC Volleyball Specialist of the Week
FLORENCE, S.C. — For the second time in three weeks, a Francis Marion University volleyball player has been selected as the Peach Belt Conference Volleyball Specialist of the Week.
This time the award goes to sophomore setter Finn Millians for the week of Nov. 4-10.
A native of Atlanta, Millians averaged 11.85 assists and 2.69 digs per set as the Patriots went 3-0 last week. She tallied double-doubles (assists/digs) in all three matches starting with a career-high 54 assists and 11 digs in a road win at UNC Pembroke. She followed that with 52 assists and 12 digs in a 3-2 victory over Augusta University and finished with 48 assists and 12 digs versus Georgia College.
During the week, she also registered eight kills, four blocks and one service ace.
Millians is currently second in the PBC in assists per set (9.94) and leads the conference in total assists (1083). Her season total is the most by a Patriot in 13 seasons, dating back to Jenna Kaiser’s tally of 1,282 in 2006.
Francis Marion (18-12) will conclude its regular-season schedule Friday with a home conference match against Flagler College at 7 p.m. in the Smith University Center. The Patriots will then head to the PBC Tournament, Nov. 22-24 in Aiken.
Coker women drop exhibition against College of Charleston
CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Coker University women’s basketball team dropped its Division I exhibition at the College of Charleston on Tuesday night by a score of 82-57.
Amanda Cherry led the Cobras with 17 points on the night, while Erin Houser had eight and Saquita Joyner had seven.
The Cobras are back on the floor for their home opener on Saturday when they host Erskine College at 2 p.m.