MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – The College of Charleston men’s soccer team opens its 2012 season with an exhibition match against No. 33 University of Central Florida at Patriots Point on Tuesday, Aug. 14. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. and admission is free to the public.
“Well, I’m real excited about this year’s squad,” said CofC head coach Ralph Lundy. “We are pretty deep and that’s great because the college season is short, intense and always full of injuries. We’ve got quality at every position. We’ve got some new players who are doing great so we’re just trying to blend everyone together. Everyone has a great attitude. And, we scored highest on the fitness test which, in August and September, is a key factor.
“So I’m real excited. But, we better be good because of our 18 matches, nine were NCAA tournament participants last year. So we have got to get after it.
“[UCF] made it to the tournament last year and they are extremely athletic and talented. The goal was to put us into a great challenge right away. We’ve got to sort it out a little bit and see how it goes. We feel pretty good about our team. It’s going to be a little bit of a new lineup so we’re going to have to take it minute-by-minute and see how we match up with them.”
GLANCING AT THE COUGARS…
The 2012 men’s soccer team is a veteran bunch which brings a wealth of leadership and experience to the playing field.
Last season, the Cougars went 5-8-5 against an extremely grueling schedule which pitted them against seven teams which would go on to the NCAA Tournament.
Lundy returns 10 starters from the 2011 team and 80 percent of his goal scoring from last season. Seven newcomers have joined the ranks who will look to have immediate impacts on the team. Included in that bunch is a pair of junior college transfers who were pivotal in Cloud County Community College winning the NJCAA National Championship last season.
The roster features 10 seniors, six of whom have been playing together for almost seven years since joining as teammates on Discoveries Soccer Club ’90. That bunch went on to win the USYSA National Championship together in 2009.
Midfielder Sean de Silva (Port of Spain, Trinidad), defender Shawn Ferguson (Rock Hill, S.C.) and forward Troy Peterson (Walla Walla, Wash.) return to the Cougars after being named all-conference selections last season.
SCOUTING THE KNIGHTS…
In their best season in program history, the Knights posted a 12-6-3 record in 2011 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The team spent virtually the entire season ranked in the top 25 and climbed as high as No. 6 in the rankings.
The Knights advanced to the Conference USA semifinals where they lost to No. 16 University of Alabama at Birmingham. UCF received its second-straight at-large bid to the dance, however, and defeated Florida Gulf Coast to advance to the round of 32.
Head coach Bryan Cunningham, now in his sixth season with the Knights, brings back seven starters and 11 total letter winners in 2012. The Knights are receiving votes in the initial NSCAA Coaches poll and rank No. 33 in the preseason ballot.
McKauly Tulloch, a forward from Kingston, Jamaica, is back for his junior campaign after scoring 15 goals and ranking fifth in the NCAA in goals per game last season. Senior Shawn Doyle and junior Sebastian Evers are both back after splitting the majority of the time in net last season and combing for .785 save percentage.
PACK PATRIOTS POINT…
Admission to Tuesday’s exhibition is free to the public, so be a part of the beginning of what looks to be an exciting year for the men’s soccer team.
Patriots Point is developing a reputation as an imposing environment for visiting teams as well as a first-class venue to enjoy the Cougars' high-quality level of soccer.
When the NCAA released its 2011 attendance figures, the College of Charleston ranked 24th in the nation in average home attendance. The Cougars saw their average fans per game at Patriots Point rise to 1,017 last season to become one of just 26 schools in the country to average over 1,000 fans.
MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE FOR THE MATCH…
Fans who can’t make it out to Patriots Point can follow along with the action through live statistics and virtual play-by-play provided free of charge by CofCSports.com.
CofC’s regular-season home games will be viewable through a full, high-definition webstream featuring a multiple-camera broadcast complete with play-by-play commentary and analysis.
FOLLOW THE COUGARS…
Another great way of keeping up with the CofC men’s soccer team is through the team's own Twitter account (@CofCSoccer). The account provides pictures, team activities, statuses when the team is on the road as well as in-game thoughts and updates.
The Cougars get to tune up with one final exhibition match at East Tennessee State University on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m.
Following that bout, the Cougars open regular-season play at South Carolina in a rematch of last year’s thrilling season opener in which the Cougars upended the No. 15 Gamecocks, 3-2, in front of a record breaking crowd at Patriots Point.