Defending Conference championship team readies for Virginia
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Aug. 13, 2011) – Exactly 38 weeks had passed since the ETSU men’s soccer team made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history and on Thursday evening, student-athletes, coaches and trainers all reported to Summers-Taylor Stadium to begin the first day of practice and their quest towards another NCAA Tournament run.
“It has been very good so far; the players have worked extremely hard,” said head coach Scott Calabrese, on the first few practice sessions. “The thing that is really encouraging to me is that the vast majority of returners have come back very fit, and that shows quite a bit of commitment in the summer to build on what they’ve done in the spring.”
Calabrese now enters his fourth year as head of the ETSU men’s soccer program, having just led the squad to its first Atlantic Sun Conference championship in its youthful three-year history. The team’s success in 2010 consequently earned Calabrese Coach of the Year honors from both the Atlantic Sun Conference and the NSCAA/Mondo South Region.
The Bucs return nine starters and 19 letterwinners from the 2010 Atlantic Sun championship squad that went 15-6-0 overall, including a 7-2-0 mark in Atlantic Sun contests. ETSU’s 15 victories in 2010 marked a program-best in wins, which more than doubled their previous high of six in both 2008 and 2009.
On Sunday, the team will gauge itself against the 2009 national champion Virginia Cavaliers. Last year, the Cavaliers went 11-6-3 overall, 2-4-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, and advanced to the NCAA tournament for its 30th consecutive season. Virginia would; however, fall victim in the first round to Old Dominion, 1-0. The Cavaliers’ 30-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances rank first among active streaks.
“We’re starting to build up towards our Virginia game, which is going to be a great test for us,” said Calabrese. “They’re ranked 22nd in the country, two years ago they won the national championship and they’re going to be a team that lets us know exactly where we are very quickly.”
ETSU will travel to Charlottesville, Virginia on Sunday, Aug. 14 to square off against the Cavaliers in Klockner Stadium at 5 p.m. The Bucs open up the regular season on Saturday, Aug. 27 against Presbyterian in Johnson City, Tenn. at 6 p.m.
For more information on ETSU men’s soccer please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s soccer links.