|Connor Hubbard has four goals this season. Photo courtesy of Furman.|
After suffering its first two losses of the season last week, the Furman men's soccer team bounced back in its Southern Conference opener Tuesday. The 18th-ranked Paladins downed VMI 4-0.
That runs Furman's winning streak in the series to 31 consecutive games.
“It was nice to start out conference play like that, get a shutout and a win,” Paladins coach Doug Allison said. “It was essential to get three points to start conference play.”
Furman (7-2) jumped out to an early lead, scoring three goals in the first half by Kevin Edelmann, Josiah Baker and Drew Mostoller.
It was the second straight game the Paladins netted four goals.
“We had 29 shots, so that's exciting. We're going forward well,” Allison said. “Different guys are scoring, that is nice.”
The Paladins also registered their fifth shutout behind goalkeepers Ben Hale and Jonathan Smith.
Furman’s backline surrendered four shots on the night. With two players out due to injury - Dylan Rowe and Cam Robinson - it was a big bounce back after giving up five goals against Gardner-Webb the last time out. That was the first time since 1996 that Furman allowed at least five goals in a match.
“To get that shutout was good,” Allison said. “Those are very experienced guys (Rowe and Robinson). Getting those guys back would be nice. They're definitely a piece of the puzzle on our defense. We played a lot of players and some guys got their first experience in college soccer, so that's nice.”
Even with the 4-0 victory, Allison stressed that the Paladins cannot take any opponent lightly.
“There are no easy games,” Allison said. “It’s always tough in our league because you play each other twice.”
Next up the Paladins go on the road to face UNC Greensboro Saturday at 7 p.m. The Spartans (3-4-2, 0-0-1) were picked to finish third in the SoCon.
“They’re always tough,” Allison said. “It's always been a big rivalry. It’s usually a fairly aggressive game. They’re very athletic and I am looking forward to playing them.”
The Paladins opened the season with six consecutive wins for its best start since 2007 when they won the first seven. The highlight came when Furman won at then No. 4-ranked Denver, 1-0, in double overtime. That snapped Denver's 37-match regular season undefeated streak.
Those early wins propelled the Paladins into the Top 25, reaching as high as No. 8.
Furman's match at ETSU is now set for 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6.