Men's Soccer Looks for Fourth-Straight SAC Championship in 2013August 15, 2013
MSOC Begins Play on Sept. 5 at Erskine
ANDERSON, S.C. – Looking to feed off an undefeated mark in its last four matches from a season ago, Anderson University men’s soccer seeks its fourth-straight South Atlantic Conference tournament championship in 2013, as the Trojans open play on Sept. 5.
Even though AU is slated to return four starters from a season ago, head coach John Murphy brings in 18 new faces to a team that went 4-4-1 in conference play last year. With multiple tough road matches to go along with an always strong conference slate, the upperclassmen will have to mesh quickly with the youth of the roster to improve on last season’s 6-10-4 overall mark. Key non-conference contests against Flagler, UNC Pembroke and Francis Marion tie into tough road SAC matches against last season’s regular-season champion Mars Hill and always tough Wingate combines one of the toughest schedules in the region.
“We have high standards and high expectations,” Murphy said. “These games are difficult, there aren’t any easy games but we find that challenge exciting. When you look at the opposition we are playing, there are some really good teams in this region of the US. It will be a schedule that will demand that we take one game at a time and not overlook anyone.”
Goalkeepers: With the graduation of Lukas Hesse from last season, Murphy will be looking for a new starting goalkeeper for the season. A trio of keepers enter the season with one already being on the roster in redshirt freshman Devon Ashy (Greenville, S.C./J.L. Mann). Ashy will be joined by freshmen Bo Haug (Stuttgart, Germany) and Grant Strickland (Columbia, S.C./Brookland-Cayce), as all the goalkeepers will compete for playing time in 2013.
“Anytime you lose a player like Hesse, it’s a cause for a concern, but I think we addressed that,” Murphy said. “We have three very talented goalkeepers, so as a program, coaching staff and as a team we need to provide plenty of support for these young goalkeepers. All three have a fantastic future ahead of them. Even though it’s a young position, I don’t think it’s a weak position for us.”
Defense: Despite junior Lars Zimmerman (Malente, Germany/Gymnasium Eutin) leading the team in goals playing as a forward last season, Murphy will move the Zimmerman back to his natural position, centerback. Zimmerman will be joined by senior Stefan Veljovic who started in all 20 matches a season ago. Filling in the last spots on the backline will be a challenge, but with juniors William Treichler (Lexington, N.C. / West Davidson) and James Somerville (Pampoolah, Australia / Tarce) to match with newcomers Oliver Wright (Auckland, New Zealand), Paul Von Hinuber (Wuerttemberg, Germany), Alex Delpy (Munich, Germany), Chandler Lindler (Columbia, S.C./Chapin) and Sam Brown (Lexington, Ky./West Jessamine), Murphy is excited about his potential of the defense.
“Having Lars back there creates a leadership position,” Murphy said. “To put him next to an experienced player in Stefan Veljovic brings a lot to the table.”
Midfield: Juniors Mattias Schyberg (Stockholm, Sweden/Atletica Gymnasiet) and Martin Brain (Beckley, England/Tunbridge Wells Grammar) are the lone returners to the midfield after combining for 30 appearances and 27 starts a season ago. Murphy would like Schyberg to play more of an attacking position, so Brain may be the lone upperclassman in the middle. Newcomers Henrique Gazzi (Caxias do Sul, Brazil), Brad Du Plooy (Greenville, S.C./Oakbrook Preparatory) and Johnny Fana (Ponte Vedra, Fla./St. Joseph Catholic) could see significant minutes.
“The midfield is going to be a nice combination of youth and experience,” Murphy said. “I think we just scratched the surface with Martin and we expect an even better performance from him this season.”
Forwards: With Zimmerman making the move back to defense, AU will be seeking new goal scorers for the upcoming season. The lone forward that returns to the roster is junior Corbin Bowers who saw action in just 10 matches in 2012. With the amount of newcomers Murphy has brought in, a new look to the front line is expected. To go along with Schyberg upfront, Andre Carle (Sydney, Australia), Benoit Torres (France), Bernd Muxel (Schoppernau, Austria), Luke Jones (Anderson, S.C./Belton-Honea Path) and Aaron Robinson (Vero Beach, Fla./Sebastian River) could see roles at the position this season.
“We’re bigger and more athletic up front,” Murphy said. “Mattias is going to be a very important part of our team this year. We know that we can depend on him and to have someone with that kind of positive attacking qualities upfront is very important.
Schedule: With back-to-back road contests, highlighted by the rivalry with Erskine, Anderson has a couple early tests with the Flying Fleet (Sept. 5) and Mount Olive (Sept. 9) before heading back to AU for a non-conference showdown with Young Harris (Sept. 11). The Trojans open SAC play with a home meeting with Catawba on Sept. 14 before heading to the Sunshine State for a matchup with Flagler on Sept. 17. A trio of SAC matches awaits AU with newcomers Coker (Sept. 21) and Queens (Sept. 25) along with Mars Hill (Sept. 28). Coach Murphy’s squad returns to its non-conference slate with a trip to North Georgia on Oct. 2. After the meeting with NGU, another streak of SAC contests awaits, as Anderson travels to Tusculum on Oct. 6, then returns home to welcome Newberry on Oct. 9, followed by another road trip to Lenoir-Rhyne on Oct. 12. UNC Pembroke comes to the Upstate on Oct. 16, followed by the Homecoming match with Lincoln Memorial on Oct. 19. The Trojans’ final conference road matches begin on Oct. 22 with a trip to Brevard, followed by a road match with Wingate on Oct. 26. AU closes the regular season with a tough non-conference match with Francis Marion (Oct. 30) and brings in November with its regular season finale with Carson-Newman (Nov. 2). The SAC Tournament is set to begin on Nov. 5 at the site of the top four seeds in the overall standings. The semifinals and championship will be played at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill, S.C.