Trojan Men's Soccer Season PreviewAugust 19, 2014
ANDERSON, S.C. – Since Anderson University men’s soccer joined the South Atlantic Conference prior to the start of the 2010 season, the conference tournament championship has featured the Trojans all four seasons, with AU winning three of the last four SAC Tournament championships. In 2014, the Trojans look to continue their postseason success, but advance deeper into the postseason.
After matching 1-0 victories in the first two rounds of the SAC Tournament, Anderson found itself in its fourth straight SAC Tournament championship match, seeking its fourth straight conference tournament title. Despite the Trojans completing this improbable feat for the fourth straight year, AU fell short of its fourth straight title, falling to league newcomer Queens, 2-0.
Despite the setback in the title match, Anderson earned a berth into the NCAA Tournament and squared off against SAC foe, Carson-Newman. After the Black and Gold took a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute, the Eagles clawed back with three straight goals to fend off the Trojans, ending AU’s season. With the victory, Carson-Newman continued its success and eventually won its way into the National Championship match.
With two players gone from the starting lineup from the 2013 SAC title match, Anderson returns one of the strongest lineups in the SAC. With six seniors on the roster, AU boasts one of its most experienced lineup its had in several years.
One other change to the team this season comes from the coaching staff, as last season’s head coach John Murphy took on a job as the Associate Head Coach at Division I’s Boston College in early March. Murphy leaves the program with an 18-17-7 overall record and a conference tournament championship in 2012.
Murphy’s assistant and former Anderson standout, Michael Zion, takes on the head coaching duties of the squad after being an assistant with the Trojans for four seasons. Since Zion’s arrival to the club prior to the 2010 season, AU has won 50 matches and has advanced to the NCAA Tournament three times.
Joining Anderson’s nine starters from its tournament championship lineup a season ago, the team welcomes 10 newcomers to the squad in 2014. The lineup is headlined by junior defender Lars Zimmerman, who was the only Trojan to be named to the All-SAC First Team following the 2013 regular season. Projected to start alongside Zimmerman in the backline are Alex Delpy and Oliver Wright, who combined for 38 starts a season ago. Delpy, who started all 22 contests in 2013, dished out three assists for the season, while Wright, who fought off injuries throughout last year, closed 2014 with 11 shots.
Senior William Treichler looks to fill a void left by Stefan Veljovic in the backline. Treichler, who specializes in long throw-ins, made 11 starts a season ago and handed out two assists to close the year. Treichler will be in a preseason battle with Robert Lyew and newcomers Alexander Beck, Michael LaGreca, Jonathan Love and Jonathan Low.
The midfield holds the most experience on the team, as seniors Mattias Schyberg and Martin Brain return to the AU lineup for their final collegiate seasons, as the duo combined for seven goals a season ago, headlined by a combined four game-winners. Brain came on late in the season as he scored two game-winning goals in the first two matches of the SAC Tournament, propelling Anderson into the SAC Tournament championship. Schyberg also had his heroics last season, highlighted by a double-overtime winner over nationally-ranked Young Harris.
The tandem is projected to be joined by sophomore Brad Du Plooy and graduate student Bernd Muxel. Muxel saw action at both the midfield and forward positions a season ago, leading to two goals and three assists. Du Plooy saw action in all 22 contests and scored his first collegiate goal in a 4-3 come-from-behind win at North Georgia. Sophomore Mark Allen also looks to make an impact after coming off the bench in 18 contests in 2013. Allen scored his lone goal of the year in a 5-1 rout of Mount Olive in early September.
At the forward slot, the Trojans return top goal scorer, Andre Carle to the lineup, who was the only AU player to record double figures in goals for 2013. Carle was also the first player in the conference to reach 10 goals last year, as he finished the campaign with 12 goals and one assist.
Carle is joined by sophomore Aaron Roberson, who was on the cusp of a breakout season before injuries played a factor throughout the rest of the season. Roberson closed the 2013 campaign with five goals, three assists and 17 shots on goal, which ranked second behind Carle. Seniors Ty Reales and Corbin Bowers will look to provide depth in the attacking positions.
In goal, Anderson brings back sophomore Bo Haug, who shined as a freshman with six shutouts for the season. Haug’s 1.09 goals against average ranked fifth in the SAC a season ago, while his 81 saves put him third within the league’s goalkeepers. Following the Stuttgart, Germany native is Devon Ashy, who saw action in two contests last year, and Grant Strickland.
Anderson kicks off the season with a scrimmage against nationally-ranked Limestone at Greenville’s Legacy Charter on Aug. 23. Following their final scrimmage of the 2014 season on Aug. 30 at Trojan Stadium against North Georgia, AU hits the road to the Sunshine State for the season-opener at Rollins on Sept. 4. After three straight road matchups, the Trojans open their home slate on Sept. 17 when they welcome archrival Erskine to Trojan Stadium. Kickoff against the Flying Fleet is scheduled for 4 p.m.