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Furman Downs USC Upstate To Extend Unbeaten Streak To Nine, 2-1

Nikolai Hammer
Nikolai Hammer

Greenville, S.C. – Freshmen Walker Zimmerman and Nikolai Hammer each netted a goal to lead 23rd-ranked Furman past USC Upstate, 2-1, and extend the Paladins' unbeaten streak to nine matches on Tuesday night at Stone Soccer Stadium.

The victory improved Furman to 8-1-2 on the season while the Spartans dipped to 3-4-0.

Zimmerman, a defender from Lawrenceville, Ga., opened the scoring just 1:20 into the match.  The 6-foot-3 captain of the U.S. U-18 National Team dribbled through a pair of Upstate defenders before playing a give-and-go with Coleton Henning and finishing from close range for his third tally of the season.

Hammer doubled the Furman advantage at 63:22 with his first collegiate goal.   Henning played Clint Ritter down the right wing and the freshman curled a low cross into the path of Hammer who headed connected on a driving header from six yards out to beat Upstate keeper Jason McCabe with the eventual game-winning goal.

Furman's Alec Kann, who tallied his 31st career victory in goal, stopped four Spartan shot before Upstate registered a consolation goal on Chad McCoy's header off of a Derek Dearmond corner kick at the 89:06 mark.

The Paladins pressured the Upstate defense throughout the match and built a 22-10 edge in shot attempts, including a 12-5 margin in shots on goal.  McCabe saved eight Paladin shots and the Spartans' defense cleared two shots off of the goal line to keep Upstate within striking distance.

Furman returns to action this coming Saturday when it travels to Greensboro, N.C., to open Southern Conference play against the UNC Greensboro Spartans.  The contest, set for a 7 p.m. kickoff, is a rematch of last year's SoCon Tournament final which UNCG won 1-0.