LU men’s soccer moves on to Big South semis

Published 12:20 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Dan Campos tallied six points in Longwood University’s regular season finale Nov. 2, and he followed that up with a 5-point effort to lead the sixth-seeded Lancers to a 3-1 upset victory over third-seeded UNC Asheville Sunday afternoon in the Big South Tournament quarterfinals at Greenwood Soccer Field in Asheville, N.C.

The junior midfielder paced the Lancer attack with his second straight brace and his NCAA-leading 12th assist of the season to help Longwood avenge a 3-2 overtime loss to the Bulldogs earlier this season.

“It’s never easy to win on the road as it takes character and commitment, which I think we showed plenty of throughout tonight,” said Lancers Head Coach Jon Atkinson, who has made an appearance in the Big South tournament each of the past four seasons. “UNC Asheville has had a great season and made it a tough game, but I felt we had enough on the night to win out and progress.”

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With the upset win, Longwood advances to the Big South semifinals for the second time in its five seasons in the league, matching the effort of the 2013 squad. In addition, five of Longwood’s six seniors — Carlos Canas, Vaughn Fowler, Evan Fowler, Michael Margulis and Zach Corcoran — will have the opportunity to play in their second Big South semifinals.

A 2016 All-Big South Second-Team selection, Campos had not scored a goal until the regular season finale against rival Liberty University when he recorded his first of two consecutive two-goal games, scoring the game-winner against the Flames in the decisive overtime period. That victory clinched a spot in Sunday’s Big South quarterfinals.

On Sunday, Zach Joens scored the lone goal of the game for the Bulldogs, his eighth strike of the season.

“We have to remain grounded and humble as our goal is greater,” said Atkinson. “It’s a good sign that the lads are showing an appetite to extend the season and show a willingness to play for each other.”

Longwood got the offense rolling early as Campos set up freshman midfielder Connor Rea in the sixth minute for his third goal of the season and first in Big South play, making the score 1-0. Campos would add a penalty kick six minutes later, before Joens brought the Asheville deficit back to one goal.

Canas made six saves against 16 shots faced, marking his fourth straight game with at least four saves. Canas was able to outduel Asheville goalkeeper Chris Katt, who had five saves.

Canas — a three-time All-Big South honoree — captured his second career postseason win to round out a senior campaign that saw him among the top-3 in the Big South in save percentage and goals against average.

“Selfishly, I am delighted to be able to continue to coach these lads this season,” said Atkinson. “They are a special bunch and came here to achieve success for Longwood. We aim to give it our all against High Point on Wednesday.”

Longwood will look to avenge its loss earlier this season to Big South regular season runner-up and second-seeded High Point University on Wednesday when the Lancers take on the host Panthers at Vert Stadium.