JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Aug. 27, 2015) – The men’s soccer team has been preparing all week for the nationally ranked Clemson University Tigers on Friday, August 28 at 7:30 p.m. The Bucs will start their season on the road in Clemson, S.C. at Riggs Field.
Last Game Recap vs. Virginia Tech
The Bucs started off slow with the Hokies maintaining most of the possession for the first ten minutes. The first goal came off a VT penalty kick. An ETSU defender made a play on the ball and was called for the foul. Merlin Baus knocked the ball in the top right corner to give Virginia Tech the 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute. The Bucs didn’t strike until late in the first half when an ETSU player had his shot on goal blocked. The ricochet came back to graduate James Smith (Eastbourne, England) who then dished the ball to redshirt-sophomore Jeff George (Safety Harbor, Fla.) for the Buccaneer’s first goal in the 42nd minute.
The Hokies started the second half the same way they started the first: by maintaining most of the possession. The Bucs had several chances after retaining possession but were caught offside twice. An opportunity arose in the 63rd minute when sophomore Fletcher Ekern (Knoxville, Tenn.) gave Smith a good lead pass in the Hokie defense. Smith split two defenders and kicked the ball just over the VT goalie’s head. The Hokies had four shots with three on goal after the Bucs gained the lead, but ETSU held on 2-1.
James Smith’s Leadership
A transfer from Lees-McRae College has been a solid leader for the Bucs so far this season. He is a first year graduate student at ETSU and has proven during practices and games he has experience at the collegiate level. With his last year of eligibility remaining, he hopes to lead the Bucs to a successful season. Just in pre-season play, he has netted two goals and tallied one assist. He is one of the top leaders for the Bucs in shots on goal percentage with 75 percent and leads the team with two goals in pre-season play.
Head-to-head against Clemson
The Bucs have had some success against the Tigers since the birth of the men’s soccer program in 2008. ETSU holds a record of 1-0-1 against Clemson with their only win coming in 2010, which happened to be in Clemson, S.C. The victory had to go into two overtime periods with the game winning goal coming from senior Guilherme Reis. The goal came from a penalty kick in the 116th minute. ETSU dominated statistically outshooting the Tigers 25-10 and had the advantage in corner kicks, 12-5.
Most recently in 2011, the Bucs tied Clemson at Summers-Taylor Stadium. The Bucs came out with an early 1-0 lead just ten minutes into the game. Itode Fubara crossed the ball to the middle to teammate David Geno for the easy Buc goal. After halftime, the Tigers struck quickly with a goal by Austin Savage just 1:50 minutes into the second half.
Regular season game openers
Unfortunately for the Bucs, they have not been great during their first regular season games. ETSU holds a 2-4-1 record in season openers. In the past four years though, the Bucs are 2-2 with a victory last season against William & Mary in the VCU Invitational. Head Coach Bo Oshoniyi is 1-0 as a head coach in season game openers. Junior Joao Ramalho (Monte Santo, Brazil) leads the current Buccaneer team in season openers in shots (6), shots on goal (5), and goals (2), all coming against William & Mary last season.
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For more information on Buccaneer men’s soccer, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s soccer page.