Tim Foster, MC Sports Information
Head Coach Pepe Fernandez and his staff welcomed 33 players to the pitch this morning to begin preparation for the 2011 Maryville College men’s soccer season.
The Men’s Soccer program returns nine seniors to a club that is eager to make a run deep into the National Tournament. The Scots will also look finish their four-year streak of conference championships within the Great South conference as this is the final year competing within the GSAC.
Senior Travis Bolton returns a career 25 goals and will head the frontline as the 2010 “Team offensive MVP”. Senior Tom Webster also returns for his career 16 goals as a Fighting Scot to the forward position and was an All-conference and All-Region performer last season. Sophomore Tyler Tinker will bolster the frontline, as the attacking GSAC Freshman of the Year will hope to improve on his six goals. Senior Jonathan Sykes will compete for time at the forward position, and will hope to use the skills he acquired from the National Bahamas team this summer to have an excellent senior season.
“We return many critical goal attackers that will look to improve on their great seasons from a year ago. We are excited to see what these guys can build on” Head Coach Pepe Fernandez mentioned.
GSAC Player of the Year, senior Brian Beckham will man the midfield for the Scots. The athletic midfielder scored six goals in 2010 with two assists. The Scots will mix in an array of midfielders such as juniors Sutton Cash, Eric Hammond, and Taylor Richardson to provide quality depth to the position.
“Brian brings back key leadership for are midfield and we will rely on him to fulfill a big role for us. The competition for the other midfielder positions will be great heading into the preseason,” Fernandez added.
Seniors Ridge Carter, David Large and Jake Holt will all contribute a strong returning defensive line. All-GSAC player Ridge Carter will utilize his speed to make it difficult for any attacker to breakthrough. The left-footed Large will man the left side of the field, while Holt will continue to be a versatile player for the Scots playing the midfield and the defense positions. Junior John Roberson will be a vocal leader for the Scots defense.
“We are excited about our strength on the defense. We have a mix of players that offset each other strengths to really give us that solid defensive line and we bring back a ton of experience,” Coach Jon Baker stated.
The Goalkeeper position will have an open competition between three freshmen who are from three different states. Matt Ridley from Columbus, Georgia, Ben Munger from Cullman, Alabama, and Zach Gutzman from Hendersonville, Tennessee will all have an ample chance to earn their time as freshmen. Maryville local David Lethco will look to compete right away for playing time at the forward position. “It will be a open race to see who will be our starting goalkeeper. There is no doubt that all of these guys are willing and able, the decision now is just who will win the competition in the preseason,” Coach Fernandez said.
The Scots, 13-5-1 overall and 3-0 in GSAC challenges last season, will open the season on Sept. 3 in Memphis. The Orange and garnet will participate in a tournament on the campus of Rhodes College where they will challenge the host Lynx squad as well as Millsaps College during the season’s opening weekend.
Soccer Opens with High Expectations
Tim Foster, MC Sports Information