Men's Soccer Opens Season at Erskine on ThursdaySeptember 4, 2013
ANDERSON, S.C. – The 2013 edition of the Anderson University men’s soccer team begins the season with one of its most highly anticipated matches of the season, the historic rivalry against Erskine. Kickoff from Huggins Field is set for 7 p.m.
A key goal for Coach John Murphy’s squad this year is to get off to a better start. The Trojans began the 2012 season winless in their first six matches (0-4-2) before claiming their first win against conference foe, Brevard on Sept. 19. Eventually, Anderson started to pick up momentum in the last part of the season and went on to win its third straight conference tournament championship.
Coach Murphy returns a good amount of upperclassmen to mix with one of his largest recruiting classes in his coaching career. A list of 15 newcomers is on the roster, joining four starters from last season’s championship lineup. Last season’s leading goal scorer and one of those starters, junior Lars Zimmerman, will unlikely make another run as the team’s leading goal scorer, after moving to a more natural area of the field for him, the backline. Despite the position move, Zimmerman was still honored by the South Atlantic Conference, being named to the Preseason all-SAC First Team.
Also being honored by the conference was junior midfielder Martin Brain, who saw action in 10 matches a season ago. Brain’s 2012 campaign was highlighted by two game-winning goals against Newberry and Wingate. The Beckley, England native closed the championship winning season with four goals and eight points, both positioning him behind Zimmerman for second of the team.
The Flying Fleet
Erskine is slated to return a wealth of experience, bringing back seven starters from their 2012 lineup. Highlighting the lineup is senior goalkeeper Roberto De La Vina who finished last season with 67 saves and a shutout. De La Vina was one of three Fleet players to be named to the all-conference team, as forward Andrew Settlemire and midfielder Ross Henderson combined for 13 goals and 28 points in 2012. Both players look to lead Erskine’s offense again in 2013.
Despite tallying an impressive 7-2-1 record in Conference Carolinas last season, the Flying Fleet come off a heart-breaking shootout loss in the opening round of the conference tournament to Mount Olive. Erskine ended the year with an 8-6-4 overall record, a two-win decline from 2011.
EC Head Coach Warren Turner returns for his fifth season with the Fleet, as Erskine was slotted second in the Conference Carolinas Preseason Coaches’ Poll, receiving one first place vote.
In the last four seasons, the series between Anderson and Erskine has been tightly contested, playing to two draws and each team posting a win. AU last defeated the Fleet in 2010 with a 3-1 victory. In 2011, Erskine came away with a 2-0 win, while last season, both teams notched their first draws of the season, playing to a 1-1 tie.