September 13, 20171st2nd1OT 2OT Final
ETSU56:30Fletcher Ekern (Austin Bihlmeyer )
ETSUJonny Sutherland110:0012
Stats at a GlanceRADETSU
Shots (on Goal)11 (3) 11 (2)
Corner Kicks65
Yellow Cards43
ETSU hosts Radford after back-to-back overtime wins
ETSU hosts Radford after back-to-back overtime wins
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Men’s soccer team looks to start a winning streak

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 12, 2017) – After finishing August with an 0-1-1 record, ETSU men’s soccer is streaking with two back-to-back golden goal victories and will look to add a third Wednesday, Sept. 13 when it hosts Radford. Kickoff from Summers Taylor Stadium is set for 7 p.m.

The Bucs (2-1-1) have now been to overtime in all four games this season, with the last two contests (Lipscomb and Appalachian State) ending in victory within four minutes of the first period.

The Bucs were on the road against Appalachian State in its last contest and put up a peak performance defensively, limiting Appalachian State to five total shots, including just one in the second half. The Mountaineers had no shots on goal, as ETSU rode home happy with a 1-0 victory.

ETSU started equally slow in the first half last week, putting up four shot attempts before exploding to finish with 15. The Bucs also had five shots on goal, including the game winning goal by freshman Danny Barlow (Newcastle, England) off an assist from fellow freshman Austin Bihlmeyer (Knoxville, Tenn.). The golden goal came in the 94th minute.

About Radford

The Highlanders’ men’s soccer program has been in existence since 1984. Since that time, Radford has only had nine losing seasons, with the last one dating back to 2010. Radford finished last season with an impressive 14-4-2 record and a 7-1 performance in the Big South Conference.

Tomorrow’s showdown will be a battle of defending regular season conference champions, as Radford took home its fourth conference tournament title last season while also winning the regular season for a third straight time.

The Highlanders were dispatched in the opening round of the 2016 NCAA tournament by Coastal Carolina. The team would avenge that loss this season, as they roll into Johnson City with a 2-1 home victory over Chanticleers.

Radford is currently 2-2 on the year, including a season-opening win over ETSU’s SoCon rival, Wofford, in a 4-0 contest. Radford also owns losses to No. 5 Clemson and Davidson, each by only one goal.   

Scouting the Highlanders

Radford is led offensively by redshirt junior forward Kieran Roberts, who has a team-high four goals on 25 shots and 14 shots on frame. Roberts nailed the game winning goal against Coastal Carolina and scored the lone goal in a 2-1 loss to the No. 5 Clemson Tigers.

Another key player thus far for Radford has been Sivert Deahlie, another junior forward that leads the team with two assists and is second on the team with two goals. 

Senior defender Myles Yorke and redshirt sophomore defender Victor Valls will look to be the stalwarts that shut down the ETSU offense, as each have logged over 300 minutes on the back line this season.

Standing in front of the goalmouth will be senior goalkeeper Nicholas Mertzokat, who has one shutout on the season, a .692 save percentage and has allowed four goals while recording nine saves.

Radford ranks 36th out of 205 NCAA Division I schools in shots per game with 14.25, while ETSU barely trails in 41st with 14.00 even. The Bucs counter with a 38th place showing in shots on goal per game at 6.25, while Radford posts a 5.75 number and a 58th place ranking in Division I.

Coaching Connection

The Highlanders are coached by Bryheem Hancock, who took over the job at the conclusion of last season. Hancock has walked many of the same roads as ETSU head coach Bo Oshoniyi, as both men have known each other for several years, dating back to the 1990s.

Oshoniyi, who spent one season as an assistant at South Florida in 2008, left to take a similar position at Wake Forest in 2009. Enter Hancock, who would take an assistant coaching position with the Bulls after Oshoniyi’s departure. Hancock would remain with USF for eight seasons (2009-16) before taking the helm at Radford.

Hancock spent his collegiate playing career at UConn as a goalkeeper from 1998-2001, where he was named the 2001 BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year under head coach Ray Reid. Reid has now been the Huskies head coach for 20 seasons.

Prior to UConn, Reid was the head man at Southern Connecticut State University. Lo and behold, Oshoniyi also played between the pipes for Reid. Oshoniyi was a two-time All-American goalkeeper for Reid at SCSU.

Both men also had successful goalkeeping careers in the MLS, as Oshoniyi became the first African-American to start a game at goalkeeper in MLS history and would play 12 seasons with stints at the Columbus Crew and Kansas City Wizards. Around the same time, Hancock would be the first goalkeeper selected in the 2001 MLS draft and would play three years professionally in the U.S.

Now, the two long-time friends are head coaches and will face each other for the first time Wednesday night in what both men hope will be “a rivalry for years to come.”

ETSU and Radford History

The two programs will square off for a seventh time Wednesday, with the first two contests coming back in 2008 and 2009. After a two year hiatus, the teams resumed its rivalry in the 2012 season and have played each year since, aside from last season. Both teams are tied in this series, 2-2-2.

The border rivals last did battle in 2015, with each team leaving with one point in a 1-1 tie at Radford’s Cupp Stadium. The last win in the series went to Radford in 2014, as the Highlanders defeated the Bucs in Johnson City for the first time with a 1-0 victory.

The Bucs have not defeated Radford since 2012. That contest would be the only time either team scored more than two goals, as the Bucs would come away with a 2-1 win. In every other game in the series, defense has been emphasized with neither team scoring more than one goal.

ETSU holds a 2-1 record over Radford in games played at Summers Taylor Stadium.

ETSU Record Watch

Senior forward Fletcher Ekern (Knoxville, Tenn.) continues to be a player to watch, as he is five goals away from tying the program career goal record. He’s currently tied with former teammate Joao Ramalho at 21 goals. Ekern is also in fourth place on the all-time list for shots on goal with 52. The current record holder in that category is David Geno with 100.

Ekern also ranks fifth all-time for career game-winning goals and needs seven to tie Geno, the current record holder with 11.

After a breakout 2016 season that saw a NCAA-high and ETSU single-season record 12 assists, senior Cameron Woodfin (Old Hickory, Tenn.) is second on the all-time career list at ETSU with 17 total assists. Woodfin needs four more assists to break the program record held by Geno (20).

Junior goalkeeper Jonny Sutherland (Chester, U.K.) is in line to become one of the greatest keepers in ETSU history, as he came into the season with the career record for highest save percentage at .766. With 15 saves this season, Sutherland ranks second on the career saves list at 155, trailing Ryan Coulter who has 182. Sutherland also needs 10 shutouts this season to tie the program career record held by Coulter (25).

After last Tuesday’s match vs. Lipscomb, senior defenseman Chase Clack (Memphis, Tenn.) became the second player in ETSU history to play in 4,000 consecutive minutes. The “Iron Horse” now has 4,146 non-stop minutes, the most of any position player in ETSU history while trailing only Coulter who logged 5,856 straight minutes as a goalie.

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