Men's Soccer Entertains Gamecocks and Puts on Impressive Showing
Paladins host In-State Rival USC at home.
Chippy competition turned its favor on the Paladins in their 3-0 season opening shutout against South Carolina.
Kristen Janes Photography
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Chippy competition turned its favor on the Paladins in Sunday’s 3-0 season opening shutout against South Carolina on Feb. 21. The veteran leadership of Cole McLagan and Miles Fenton helped control high energy from Furman’s newest players, and goalkeeper Ben Hale started off the season with a clean sheet to interrupt any late comeback attempts by the Gamecocks.
A small group of students gathered behind Furman’s hype section, The Den, for opening night in Stone Stadium to welcome back Doug Allison’s reigning Southern Conference Regular Season Championship team. New season energy produced clear scoring opportunities for Furman.
Back-to-back South Carolina fouls in the 23rd minute gave Furman a free kick from the top of the box. McLagan’s blocked shot converted into Sam Miller’s long crossing corner kick where Freshman Jake Raine fought through traffic to tap a quick shot into the back of the net. The Stoke, England native tallied his first collegiate goal and collected honors as the Paladins’ first goal scorer of the season. Raine is sure to make an offensive impact this season, coming out of the Repton School as their all-time leading scorer with 83 goals in 83 appearances.
English football talent stood out during the game with Callum Holland and Shaun-Chris Joash securing goals in the first and second halves, respectively. Holland’s quick reflexes on a clearance by South Carolina doubled the Paladin lead with 15 minutes left to play in the first half. Pre-season powerhouse Joash also collected his first official goal of the season from an assist from Raine in the 69th minute, making a Furman win more certain.
South Carolina collected more yellow cards than they did attempts on goal, tallying five cautions in comparison to just two shots on target. Both the shots were denied by Hale who made his 15th career shutout. Furman’s Alfredo Diaz-Santillian and Sam Miller collected yellow cards as well. But the Paladin’s remained collected and confident in their first showing after nearly a year and a half out of the field.
Furman Men’s Soccer will battle a heavy three game away series at UNC Upstate, Gardner-Webb and ETSU before returning home to face rival Wofford and complete their SoCon competition in late March.