Falcons soar past Patriots in conference tournament opener

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The University of Montevallo men’s soccer team took control early in its Peach Belt Conference tournament quarterfinal match against Francis Marion University and never looked back as the Falcons picked up a 2-0 victory Nov. 1.

Montevallo dominated possession of the ball, outshooting the Patriots 22-2. Sophomore goalkeeper Brendan Ledgeway picked up his 10th shutout of the season without having to make a save.

Both teams found goals hard to come by early in the match as the conference rivals battled to a scoreless tie in the first half. Montevallo (11-3-4) outshot the Patriots 7-1 in the first period but came away empty.

Just under 22 minutes into the second half, the Falcons’ persistence paid off as freshman Giuliano Frano used a perfectly placed pass to put junior Shane Howard behind the Francis Marion defense. Howard delivered with a strike off the post and past the Patriots’ keeper to give Montevallo a 1-0 lead.

Just 13 minutes later, Frano again used a perfectly placed ball to put classmate Alex Morton behind the Patriots’ defense. Morton dribbled the ball to the middle of the box and beat the keeper to give Montevallo a 2-0 lead.

Frano had a tremendous game using his speed to beat defenders and his passing skills to free up teammates. He led the team with nine shots, including four on goal. Howard and junior Mike Rinzema each had three shots, with one on goal.

Montevallo outshot the Patriots 15-1 in the second half.

The Falcons will now travel to Evans, Ga., for the Peach Belt Conference tournament semifinals, where they will battle No. 6 seed UNC-Pembroke. The Braves upset No. 3 seed Lander 2-1 on the road to earn a spot in the semifinals.

The Braves gave the Falcons a tough match in their only meeting this season, as both teams scored one goal in a double-overtime 1-1 tie.