SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Nov. 2, 2012) – The ETSU men’s soccer team closes the books on the 2012 regular season Saturday, traveling to County University Soccer Stadium to do battle with the USC Upstate Spartans at 7 p.m.
For the third time in as many years, ETSU (9-6-2, 5-2-0 A-Sun) concludes the conference schedule against USC Upstate (5-9-1, 3-4-0 A-Sun). Last year, the Bucs scored twice in the last 15 minutes to win and earn their spot in the postseason. ETSU has already clinched its spot this year, but needs a win on Saturday – combined with a Mercer win or draw against FGCU – to enter the 2012 Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship as the No. 2 seed and earn a bye into the semifinals. An ETSU loss or FGCU win would slate the Bucs No. 3 and force them to start the tournament in the quarterfinals next Wednesday.
USC Upstate has also secured its spot in the A-Sun Tournament, but can seed itself anywhere from fourth to sixth depending on Saturday’s outcomes. The Spartans currently sit fifth in the conference standings, with the team right in front of them, Northern Kentucky, ineligible for postseason play due to NCAA reclassification rules. That seeds Upstate fourth heading into the final day of conference play, two points ahead of Lipscomb and Stetson, and three points ahead of Jacksonville. A win or draw against the Bucs locks the Spartans in as the No. 4 seed, but a loss would put their fate in the feet of the day’s other results.
As for the Buccaneers, they will be relying on a total team effort, along with the play of A-Sun Player of the Year candidate David Geno (Kingsport, Tenn.). Heading into the final day of league play, Geno leads the conference in goals (11), points (29) and shots (51), while also ranking second in assists with seven. The Dobyns-Bennett product also finds himself near the top of the national statistical rankings, sitting tied for 10th in points and tied for 19th in goals at the beginning of the week.
Defensively, keeper Ryan Coulter (Dublin, Ireland) and the ETSU back line will look to continue their great play. Through seven conference games, the Bucs have allowed just four goals to accumulate a league-best GAA of 0.57. ETSU has also shutout four A-Sun opponents, and six this year overall.
ETSU’s Last Outing
ETSU made its annual trip to Florida last weekend, making stops in Ft. Myers and DeLand to take on Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson. On Friday against FGCU, the Bucs were held goalless for the first time since the season opener, and fell to the Eagles via a 19th-minute goal by Felipe DeSousa, 1-0. Sunday’s game against Stetson saw just as many goals, but this time the score belonged to ETSU in the 74th minute as Alesi Osorio (Austin, Texas) knocked in the 10th of his career to down the Hatters, 1-0.
Scouting the Spartans
USC Upstate had a chance to improve its position in the standings and potentially put itself in contention for a No. 2 seed on Wednesday, but fell to Northern Kentucky in Highland Heights, 1-0. Craig Heard put the Norse on top 17 minutes in, which proved to be the game’s only goal. About an hour after the conclusion of that game, FGCU went on to defeat Stetson, 2-0, clinching the Spartans a spot in next Wednesday’s quarterfinals.
Dave Musambi heads the Upstate attack with five goals and two assists for a team-leading 12 points. Musambi’s five goals sit two ahead of the next closest Spartan, Dylan Hoop, while his 12 points are twice as much as Hoop’s and Marvin Schmiege’s six. Defensively, Dani Alvarado has played every minute in goal, allowing 16 scores and earning five shutouts to amass a GAA of 1.04.
Historically, ETSU has owned USC Upstate. In four all-time meetings, the Bucs have never lost with a record of 3-0-1. The tie came at Summers-Taylor Stadium in 2009, 0-0. ETSU has won both meetings in Spartanburg, outscoring the Spartans by a combined total of 6-2.
Live stats will be provided by UpstateSpartans.com, while free live video will be available for fans on ASun.TV.
- ETSU earns the No. 2 seed in the 2012 A-Sun Tournament Championship with a win on Saturday combined with a FGCU loss or draw.
- The Bucs and Spartans are meeting in the conference final for the third year in a row. Last year, ETSU came back with two goals in the last 15 minutes to win and earn the No. 6 seed in the A-Sun Tournament.
- ETSU has never lost to the Spartans in four all-time meetings, holding a record of 3-0-1.
- In season finales, ETSU is 3-1-0 lifetime. The loss came last year at home to Appalachian State in overtime, 1-0.
- David Geno leads the A-Sun in goals (11), points (29) and shots (51), while also ranking second in assists (7). Nationally, Geno ranks T-19th in goals and T-10th in points.
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For more information on ETSU men's soccer, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's soccer links.