P.J.'s Picks - Men's Soccer Week 4
A couple of weeks ago I introduced you to a non-ranked team, University of Dayton, that has continued to make headlines now with a record of four wins and one loss to the College of Charleston. This week I plan to do the same with East Tennessee State University, making headlines and with four wins and one loss as well. Standing atop of a hill overlooking Johnson City, Tennessee with a back drop of the Appalachian Mountains, ETSU isn’t a name usually associated with soccer along with the likes of UCLA, North Carolina, or Indiana, at least it wasn’t a few years ago. In 2008, head coach Scott Calabrese took over the program and set out to make ETSU a familiar name among the already made powerhouses.
Coach Calabrese took a couple of seasons to find his stride and get the program to where he wanted it to be. In 2010 the Bucs celebrated their most successful campaign in program history, finishing the season with an overall record of 15-6-0 while going 7-2-0 in conference play. They took the Atlantic Sun conference by storm finishing second in the regular season and winning the conference title at the Atlantic Sun tournament. The conference crown earned ETSU their first ever NCAA tournament appearance where they met College of Charleston and were defeated. In the 2011 season the Bucs didn’t back off, this time taking on ranked teams and winning. First was a win over No. 24/20 UNC Greensboro, which bumped ETSU to No. 19 in Soccer America. Then Calabrese and the Bucs defeated No. 14 William & Mary in the Stihl Soccer classic, followed by a 0-0 draw against No. 25/23 Furman. The win and draw against the nationally ranked teams brought a new honor to ETSU men’s soccer, their first NSCAA ranking at No. 24.
After two successful seasons, ETSU seems to be keeping with the stride so far for the 2012 season. The Bucs defeated UAB, who was ranked #17 at the time, a week ago for their biggest win of the season thus far. ETSU took the win courtesy of David Geno’s golden goal in the double overtime. A few days later ETSU overtook Bradford for a fourth straight win since their season opener loss against Appalachian State. ETSU is undefeated at home and 1-1 on the road after their first five games. The Bucs hit the road for the next four games against Davidson, Kentucky, Winthrop, and Furman before coming home to Johnson City for their first conference match with Mercer. Forward David Geno is leading the offense with three goals followed by midfielder Luis Calzadilla with two. Colin Pugh leads with three assists and then Franck Doumbe with two to help round out the offense. Forward Emmanuel Wilson and defender Nate Hodges have both added a goal to help put points on the board for ETSU. In the net for the Bucs is keeper Ryan Coulter who has tallied 18 saves this season, allowing only three goals. Defenders Matt Reed, Maximilian Muemken, and Simon Schroettle, are just some of the names that have helped the ETSU defense to their three shutouts of the season including the one against UAB.
Coach Calabrese seems to have built up a solid program and it is starting to show for ETSU as they begin to engrave their name in NCAA men’s soccer as one of the contenders. With the talent that the Bucs have, like University of Dayton, they will continue to make the headlines this season and should be kept an eye on by everyone. ETSU has a good chance of seeing the NCAA tournament again this year and maybe finish out this year as the dark horse that rode to the finals.