Montevallo advances to conference title match

FROM STAFF REPORTS

For the second-consecutive season, the University of Montevallo men’s soccer team will take on Flagler College in the Peach Belt Conference championship match.

The Falcons (12-3-4) advanced to the title match with a 1-0 victory against UNC-Pembroke in the semifinal round Nov. 4. Montevallo will meet Flagler College in the title match Nov. 6 at 2:30 p.m.

Montevallo’s lone goal came off a penalty kick in the 47th minute of action from senior Phil Jackson. The tally was Jackson’s fourth game-winner of the season and second in the past three matches.

The match was a very physical affair with 28 total fouls called, including the infraction that led to the penalty kick.

UNC-Pembroke looked to be in control in the first half as they held the Falcons without a shot while taking three of their own. First team All-Conference performer Brendan Ledgeway made one save in the first period and four more in the second to pick up his 11th shutout of the season, which dropped his goals against average to a staggering 0.63.

The second half began with a flash as Montevallo immediately put the pressure on the Pembroke defense. Just more than a minute into the period, junior Shane Howard broke into the box for a point-blank shot that was saved by UNC-Pembroke goalkeeper Ryan Hanson. The rebound came loose and Howard went for the ball, but was speared by Hanson, which caused the Braves to be called for a foul. Jackson stepped up to the penalty spot and buried the ball into the corner to give Montevallo a 1-0 advantage.

The Falcons and Braves battled back-and-forth the rest of the way as both teams took nine shots a piece. Montevallo had a few more scoring chances as senior Tyson Eyo clanked a ball off the post and freshman Alex Morton sailed a ball over the crossbar from point-blank range.

Howard led the Falcons with five shots, including three on goal, while Sean Hoek led the Braves with four shots and two on goal.

Montevallo and Flagler tied during the regular season. The Falcons bested the Saints last season in the championship match.