BUIES CREEK — Josh Signey scored twice and Campbell defeated Gardner-Webb 3-0 on Sunday night in the first round of the Big South Conference men’s soccer tournament at the Eakes Athletic Complex.
The fourth-seeded Camels (8-8-2) advance to Wednesday’s 7 p.m. semifinal at top-seeded and 14th-ranked High Point. Second seed Radford will host third seed Presbyterian, a 3-0 winner over USC Upstate, in the other semifinal. The highest remaining seed will host next Sunday’s championship at 2 p.m.
Alex Egeonu came off the bench to add a goal and assist, while Aigbekan Nosegbe had a pair of assists for the Camels, who finished with a 14-8 edge in shots.
Fifth-seeded Gardner-Webb (4-11-1) managed only one shot on frame all night and none in the final 87 minutes of play.
“Tonight was a total team performance,” said Campbell coach Dustin Fonder. “Our group learned a lot of tough lessons in the regular season; grew up and looked like a playoff team tonight.”
Oskar Wang forced a save by Camel keeper Samuel Lechuga just 1:16 into the contest, but the Bulldogs were not able to hit the target the rest of the way.
In the 16th minute, Ismael Guerrero was alone in at the back post when a cross came to his feet, but the GWU midfielder missed less than a yard wide of Lechuga’s right post.
Campbell nearly took the lead in the 40th minute when Egeonu dribbled down the right flank and into the area, but his right-footed blast clanged off the right post and fell to J.J. Donnelly. The Camel senior’s attempt was deflected wide for a corner.
Just over two minutes later, the Camels went in front when Egeonu crossed into the area to Nosegbe, who slid a back heel pass along to Signey. Playing in his final home game at the Eakes Complex, the senior from Bakewell, England, calmly deposited the ball into the net.
In the 61st minute, Egeonu doubled the lead with his third goal of the season. Thibaut Jacquel drew two defenders in the center of the attacking third and slipped the ball to Egeonu, who lofted a shot over charging GWU keeper Daniel Husa. The assist was Jacquel’s league-leading eighth of the season.
Gardner-Webb’s best chance of the final half came in the 85th minute on Wang’s left-footed effort from the top of the box, but the ball stayed just high of the crossbar.
Signey tacked on his second goal of the night and fourth of the year when he controlled a pass from Nosegbe in the box and curled a left-footed shot into the net.
Lechuga finished with one save for his fifth shutout of the season, while Husa had two saves in the Gardner-Webb net.
In Wednesday’s semifinal, High Point (13-2-1) will meet the only Big South team to earn a point against the Panthers this year and the only league foe to defeat HPU in the past two seasons. The Camels drew 1-1 with High Point on Oct. 24 in Buies Creek after handing the Panthers a 1-0 setback last year on the road.
“We’re excited about the chance to take on another nationally-ranked team at their venue, and the opportunity to earn a chance to advance to the Big South final,” Fonder said.
(Campbell media services provided the basis for this report)