JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 26, 2016) – To open its Southern Conference play, the ETSU men’s soccer team will travel to Greenville, S.C. on Tuesday, Sept. 27 to face the 2015 SoCon Tournament winners Furman at Stone Stadium at 7 p.m.
About the Bucs
ETSU is 4-2 in its previous six matches and haven’t let up a goal in regulation in the previous five games. The Bucs have taken three tough teams on the road into overtime and have come out victorious over then No. 1 North Carolina while falling to No. 22 West Virginia in overtime and previously ranked Kentucky into double overtime.
Jonny Sutherland (Chester, U.K.) and the Buccaneer defense have been key for the Blue and Gold in the previous five matches. Sutherland and the defense have pitched a goals against average of 0.38, and the sophomore goalkeeper has a save percentage of .900 with 18 saves in the last five matches. He has risen his season save percentage to .700 and has tallied 21 saves.
Despite having strong defense, ETSU has gone 3-2 in the previous five games and has only scored three goals in that stretch. Chase Clack (Memphis, Tenn.), Fletcher Ekern (Knoxville, Tenn.), and Cameron Woodfin (Old Hickory, Tenn.) accounted for the three goals in the previous five matches with all being game-winners. However, ETSU has scored eight goals in seven matches for an average of 1.10, and seven different players have tallied at least one goal this season.
Furman was ranked in the top-25 for the first time this season after its win over then No. 15 Kentucky. The Paladins were ranked in back-to-back weeks at No. 18 after the Paladins defeated Gardner-Webb 4-3 in Boiling Springs, N.C.
The Paladins welcomed previously ranked South Carolina to Stone Stadium last Tuesday and were shutout 3-0 at home. The Paladins gained confidence back by opening conference play at VMI and defeated the Keydets 6-0.
Furman was predicted to finish second in the SoCon and received two first place votes in the Coaches’ Poll. The Paladins finished in second place in the 2015 regular season and captured the SoCon Tournament crown after defeating ETSU in the championship game 1-0. They went on to the first round of the NCAA Tournament and fell in penalty kicks to South Carolina.
Head coach of the Paladins, Doug Allison, has coached Furman for 21 years and has an overall record of 267-118-48. He is among the top-20 active coaches in Division I soccer in winning percentage (.678).
Furman leads the all-time series record against ETSU 4-2-2. The Bucs and Paladins split the regular season matchup last year with each team winning on the road.
Scouting the Paladins
This year senior midfielder Eli Pinner and junior defender Kyle McLagan were selected to the Preseason All-Conference Team.
Lewis Hawke – who scored the game-winning goal in the SoCon Championship – leads Furman with four goals and is tied for second in the SoCon in goals. He has tallied two assists this season and is second in the conference with ten points and 1.25 points per game.
Josiah Baker – the first SoCon Player of the Week this season – is second on the team with nine points and three goals. Jonathan Smith – who also earned SoCon Player of the Week honors this year – has been strong between the posts. He is tied for first in the conference in save percentage (.743), saves (26), and shutouts (3). He has an 1.11 goals against average and averages 3.25 saves per game.
How to follow the match
Tuesday’s match will be streamed online and can be viewed by clicking here. For behind the scenes action on the road, follow ETSUMSoccer on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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For more information on Buccaneer men’s soccer, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s soccer page.