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GREENSBORO -- A share of the Southern Conference regular-season championship will have to do it for the UNCG men's soccer team.

Mercer, the No. 4 seed, defeated the Spartans 1-0 tonight at UNCG Soccer Stadium to win the Southern Conference tournament and the league's automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.

UNCG had a 24-11 edge in shots, including 4-1 in shots on goal, but couldn't get one past Mercer goalkeeper J.R. DeRose. Trevor Martineau scored in the 62nd minute for the Bears.

The Spartans went 5-1 in the Southern, losing only to co-champion and tournament No. 1 seed Furman. But UNCG then won its next four games before the loss to Mercer.

UNCG finishes 9-9-1 overall in Chris Rich's first season as coach.

Senior defender Casey Penland became the program's first league player of the year since 2015.

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