Bucs and Bears to battle for a spot in the final
FT. MYERS, Fla. (Nov. 8, 2012) – For the fourth consecutive year, the ETSU men’s soccer team will step foot into the Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship Semifinals, where it will meet second-seeded Mercer at the FGCU Soccer Complex on Friday at 4 p.m.
ETSU (10-6-3, 5-2-1 A-Sun) earned its place in the semifinals on Wednesday by advancing past the tournament’s bottom seed, Jacksonville, 1-0. Mercer (11-6-1, 6-2-0 A-Sun) earned a bye into the semis by finishing second in the regular-season standings.
Part of how Mercer earned the automatic bid into the second round was defeating ETSU, 2-1, in the 2012 conference opener. The Buccaneers outshot Mercer by a large margin, 19-4, but All-Atlantic Sun First Team pick Ehjayson Henry scored twice to begin ETSU’s A-Sun season at 0-1. The second of Henry’s goals came five minutes into the second half, giving Mercer the lead for good on its only shot of the period. ETSU redshirt junior Luis Calzadilla (Caracas, Venezuela) had leveled the game just two minutes into the half.
In A-Sun semifinals, ETSU is 1-1-1 with advancements in both 2010 and ’11. Two years ago, ETSU snuck by Lipscomb when Theo Yang (Lilburn, Ga.) scored the game-winner with seven seconds remaining in double-overtime. Last year, the Bucs played Stetson to an epic 3-3 draw, moving on to the final after winning an eight-round penalty kick shootout, 5-4. The only loss came in ETSU’s first-ever semifinal, falling to Stetson, 3-2.
ETSU’s Last Outing
No. 3 ETSU took on No. 6 Jacksonville in the first game of the 2012 Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship on Wednesday, and was victorious, 1-0, thanks in large part to a goal from first team all-conference junior Itode Fubara (Ogbema, Nigeria). Five minutes into the game, A-Sun Player of the Year David Geno (Kingsport, Tenn.) fought for a ball down the right side of the field sent in by senior all-conference midfielder Alesi Osorio (Austin, Texas). Geno won the battle as the Dolphin defender slipped to the ground, and sent a cross through the box from near the end line that Fubara slammed home from point-blank range.
When it was all said and done, Fubara’s goal proved to be the only score of the game and ETSU eliminated JU in the quarterfinals for the second straight year. Last November, the Buccaneers defeated Jacksonville at Summers-Taylor Stadium, 2-0.
Scouting the Bears
After leading the Atlantic Sun standings for most of the year, Mercer took the No. 2 seed as the result of a loss to Florida Gulf Coast, 1-0, in the regular season finale. A Mercer win or tie would have placed the conference tournament in Macon, Ga., but a 52nd-minute goal from Santiago Echeverri was all FGCU needed to relocate the postseason to Ft. Myers. The loss was the only shutout Mercer was dealt during the conference season.
A big part of Mercer’s success comes from its defense. The Bears earned eight all-conference selections – one behind ETSU’s nine – including A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year Josh Shutter and first team all-conference defender Ashani Samuels. Goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh completed the regular season with the A-Sun’s best overall GAA (0.88) and the most shutouts (7).
Offensively, Henry leads the team with five goals and four assists for 14 points. Two of those goals came in the win against ETSU. Forward Richie Edmonson had four goals and four assists to earn second-team honors, joined on that squad by midfielder Ryan King and Carl-Oscar Andersson. King had two goals and a conference-leading eight assists, while Andersson had three goals and five assists.
ETSU and Mercer have met five previous times, with the Bears holding a decisive 3-1-1 series lead. Mercer rides a two-game winning streak against ETSU, defeating them in late September and during the 2011 season. The Bucs’ last series win came during the 2010 championship season, downing the Bears, 2-1, at Summers-Taylor Stadium.
Live stats for Friday evening’s semifinal will be provided through Stat Broadcast on AtlanticSun.org. Free live video will be available on ASun.TV.
- ETSU is playing in its fourth straight semifinal, where it holds an all-time record of 2-1-1, advancing to the final three times.
- An advancement would put ETSU in its fourth consecutive final.
- Mercer defeated the Bucs in this year’s regular season meeting, 2-1, at Summers-Taylor Stadium. Ehjayson Henry scored both Mercer goals.
- Friday’s meeting will be the first between ETSU and Mercer in the A-Sun Tournament Championship.
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For more information on ETSU men's soccer, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men's soccer links.