Bucs prepare to defend 2010 Tournament crown
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 8, 2011) – The 2011 Atlantic Sun Men’s Soccer Championship is set, as the ETSU men’s soccer team prepares to defend its A-Sun Tournament crown beginning on Wednesday in the quarterfinals against No. 3-seeded Jacksonville at 7 p.m.
Florida Gulf Coast, Stetson, JU, Mercer, Lipscomb and ETSU make up this year’s tournament field, and all will be playing in Johnson City as the Bucs won the bid to host this year’s Tournament Championship. Earning the No. 1 seed in 2010, ETSU hosted the semifinals and final, winning each game, on its way to its first conference championship and NCAA Tournament appearance.
The Eagles, in their first year of Division I postseason eligibility, won their second-consecutive A-Sun regular season championship and earned this year’s top seed. Stetson, with the help of a 4-3 overtime win over JU in its conference finale, earned the No. 2 seed and will join FGCU as the two squads receiving byes into the semifinals.
The quarterfinals begin Wednesday, as the tournament will kick off with No. 4 Mercer taking on No. 5 Lipscomb at 4 p.m. The Bears’ jump to fourth in the A-Sun standings came in its last conference match, defeating Belmont 2-1 to clinch a tournament berth and end the Bruins’ season. Mercer most recently met the Bisons on Oct. 27, playing to a 1-1 draw.
The Bucs (9-6-3, 3-4-1 A-Sun) and Dolphins (9-7-2, 5-2-1 A-Sun) follow the first quarterfinal, meeting for the first time in postseason play. Earlier in the year, JU defeated ETSU 2-1 in Jacksonville, Fla. as the Dolphins scored twice in the second half to erase the Bucs’ 1-0 halftime lead. Senior Aaron Schoenfeld (Knoxville, Tenn.) gave the Buccaneers a first-half lead by converting on a penalty kick, but Darko Karamatic scored the equalizer in the 50th minute and Tyler Williams sent in the game-winner for JU in the 61st minute.
At the time, the loss dropped ETSU to 1-3 in conference play, but the Bucs were able to put together a 2-1-1 stretch through their final four A-Sun contests to earn the right to defend their title. ETSU clinched its tournament berth with a thrilling 2-1 win over USC Upstate, coming from behind to score two goals through the final 16 minutes.
In its young history, ETSU is 3-1-0 all-time in A-Sun Tournament games and have never lost in the quarterfinals. In their first tournament appearance in 2009, the Bucs defeated Lipscomb 3-0 before losing to Stetson 3-2 in the semifinals.
Jacksonville has not lost in the A-Sun’s first round since 2005, when it dropped a 2-1 contest to Florida Atlantic. Since then, the Dolphins have now qualified for five of six A-Sun Tournaments, including a Tournament Championship title in 2008. That year, JU went on to face and defeat the BIG EAST’s Louisville 4-3 in overtime to advance to the round of 32. The run came to an end with a 1-0 loss to then-No. 13 North Carolina.
ETSU is 1-3-0 all-time against JU, with the Bucs’ lone win coming Oct. 15 of last season, 1-0. The winner advances to play Stetson in the semifinals.
Live stats and free live video will be provided throughout the entire 2011 Tournament Championship. Live stats will be available courtesy of ETSUBucs.com, with live video on ASun.TV.
For more information on ETSU men’s soccer, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s soccer links.