FLORENCE, SC – Freshman forward Levin Sandmann scored a pair of second-half goals as Francis Marion University rallied from a 1-0 halftime deficit to claim a 3-1 win over USC Aiken, Tuesday night (Nov. 3) in the quarterfinals of the 2015 Peach Belt Conference Men's Soccer Tournament.
The fourth-seeded Patriots improve to 11-4-2 and advance to face top-seeded Young Harris College in the semifinals at 5 p.m. on Friday at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Ga. The fifth-seeded Pacers see their four-match winning streak snapped and end their season with an 8-5-3 mark.
The Pacers took a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute on a penalty kick by sophomore Andre Simmond. The spot kick was the result of a handball in the penalty area by an FMU player following a USCA corner kick. It was Simmond's team-leading seventh score of the year.
Francis Marion began its comeback only minutes into the second stanza. At the 47:53 mark, a cross from senior midfielder Sven Ricke found Sandmann open 15 yards out in front of the Pacer goal. After settling the pass, Sandmann slotted the ball into the netting to knot the score at 1-1.
Sophomore defender Jayden Doyle nearly put the Patriots ahead in the 56th minute, but his free kick from 20 yards deflected off a Pacer and careened just outside the left post.
Sandmann gave FMU a 2-1 lead at the 71:01 mark with his team-leading 10th score of the 2015 campaign. The sequence began with sophomore midfielder Thomas Kues blasting a shot from 35 yards out that deflected off Ricke, but USCA goalkeeper Chase Boulton was unable to corral the ball and it rebounded to Sandmann who converted on a 10-yard attempt.
FMU added an insurance goal in the 79th minute when senior midfielder Gino Lucarelli tapped in a cross from the right side by Ricke. The score came on the Charleston native's first significant touch after entering the match in the 76th minute and was the second of his career.
With his three assists on Tuesday, Ricke set a new Patriot season record with 16 helpers, breaking the old mark of 13 set by Vince Myers in 1978. Ricke also improved upon his FMU career mark for assists with 32.
USCA outshot Francis Marion 17-13, but the Patriots led in shots-on-goal 8-7. The Pacers also held an 8-3 advantage in corner kicks.
FMU freshman Jonathan Mannes, the reigning AstroTurf PBC Goalkeeper of the Week, registered six saves, including stopping a second penalty kick attempt, this one by Gabriel Locher in the 85th minute.
Boulton played the opening 76 minutes in goal and made five stops, while sophomore Alessandro Gentile played the final 13:46.
In addition to the stopped PK, USCA had one other good scoring opportunity. Adria Dalmau fired a laser shot from 22-yards that bounced off the right post in the 73rd minute that would have equalized the match at 2-2.
FMU advances to the tournament semifinals for the third consecutive year. The Patriots played in the 2013 title match as well.
Francis Marion University (11-4-2 , 4th seed) def. USC Aiken (8-5-3 , 5th seed) 3-1
Date: Nov 03, 2015 Attendance: 153
Weather: Overcast, Misty, 66 degrees, Winds NE @ 8 mph
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
USC Aiken........... 1 0 - 1
Francis Marion Univ. 0 3 - 3
0-1. 27:40 USCA Andre Simmond (7) Penalty kick
1-1. 47:53 FMU Levin Sandmann (9) (Sven Ricke) - Cross from right side, settle, 15-yard shot to right of keeper
2-1. 71:01 FMU Levin Sandmann (10) (Sven Ricke) - Blast by Kues, deflected by Ricke, keeper saved but spilled,10-yd shot
3-1. 78:02 FMU Gino Lucarelli (1) (Sven Ricke) - Short cross, 5-yard tap in
Shots: USC Aiken 17, Francis Marion Univ. 13 ; Saves: USC Aiken 5 (Chase Boulton 5, Alessandro Gentile 0), Francis Marion Univ. 6 (Jonathan Mannes 6)
2015 Peach Belt Conference Tournament Quarterfinal Match