Men's Soccer 2012 Schedule ReleasedJuly 2, 2012
ANDERSON, S.C. – Nine home matches, as well as four outings against teams that made an appearance in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, including three that finished last season ranked in the top 25 nationally, highlight the 17-game 2012 Anderson University men’s soccer schedule that was released Monday afternoon.
The reigning regular-season South Atlantic Conference champions and two-time defending tournament titleholders will be looking to replace four All-Conference performers, including two-time SAC Player of the Year Lasse Sohrweide, but will return two first-team selections. Anderson, which finished last season ranked 25th in the nation, set a new school record with 17 wins and advanced to its third consecutive NCAA Tournament after posting a perfect 9-0 regular-season conference record. The Trojans also posted a school-record 11-match win streak en route to climbing as high as sixth in the polls.
A trio of seniors - Lukas Hesse, Shu Ogawa and Ben Jones will be expected to lead the Trojans as they defend the title. Hesse started every match between the pipes last season en route to garnering first-team all-conference accolades and recorded nine shutouts on the season. His save percentage of 0.79 ranked 39th in the country and goals against average (0.996) was in the top two in the league and 43rd in the nation. Hesse posted 79 saves, while playing all but 19 minutes of the season.
Ogawa, a defensive midfielder, was named second-team all-region and ranked third on the team with three assists on the season. He started 14 consecutive matches last season before suffering an injury. Jones, a 5-foot-7 midfielder, has started 45 matches and seen action in 61 contests during his three-year career. He notched a goal and a pair of assists last season and also performed in the classroom, being named the SAC Scholar-Athlete for men’s soccer.
Anderson opens the regular season on the road at UNC Pembroke in the Braves’ home opener on Saturday, Sept. 1. UNCP finished the 2011 campaign ranked 10th in the Southeast Region with an impressive 11-5-2 record en route to posting their fourth-best finish since joining the Peach Belt Conference.
Erskine invades Trojan Stadium for AU’s home opener on Sept. 4, with the Trojans looking to avenge last season’s road loss to the Flying Fleet. Erskine fell to Lees-McRae in the semifinals of the Conference Carolinas Tournament en route to posting an overall 10-8-1 record.
The Black and Gold then hits the road for a two-game road swing, where the Trojans will face Palm Beach Atlantic (13-8-1) and Lynn University for the second consecutive season. Last season, Anderson defeated Palm Beach, 4-1, and one day later were blanked 2-0 by Lynn. PBA finished last season with a 13-8-1 record, falling in the NCCAA Tournament. The Trojans will look to snap a two-match skid versus the Lynn Black Knights (14-5-3), who have made eight overall national championship appearances and fell just shy of claiming their fourth national title last season, dropping a 3-2 overtime decision to third-ranked Fort Lewis in the national championship contest.
The Trojans return home for a brief one-match homestand on Sept. 12, playing host to future SAC member Coker, which was ranked 18th nationally and tops in the Southeast Region at the conclusion of last season. The Cobras notched a stellar 18-3 record, winning both the Conference Carolinas’ regular season and tournament crowns, making the program's first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Anderson opens South Atlantic Conference action with a season-high three-match homestand, beginning with Brevard (3-13-3), then conference regular-season runner-up Tusculum (7-8-3) and Peach Belt-foe North Georgia invade Trojan Stadium to round out the three-game set. First-year Tusculum head coach Allen Vital was named SAC Coach of the Year last season after guiding the Pioneers to a surprising second place in the league before being upset by Lenoir-Rhyne in the tourney quarterfinals. AU closes out the homestand with their first meeting against North Georgia (9-7-1) since 2010. The Saints were ranked seventh in the Southeast Region, but fell to Clayton State in the opening round of the Peach Belt Tournament.
Lincoln Memorial, which will be looking to build on an overall 8-7-3 mark a year ago, is next up on the Trojans’ slate. The Railsplitters posted a 6-3 South Atlantic Conference record and a fourth-place finish in the SAC a season ago. AU blanked LMU, 2-0, in the SAC semifinals en route to the title last year.
On Oct. 6, the Trojans play host to Mars Hill (13-6-1), which closed out last season ranked 17th in the nation after advancing to the round of 16 in its first NCAA Tournament appearance. The Lions fell to then-10th-ranked Flagler, in the tourney’s opening round.
After traveling to Newberry on Oct. 10, AU returns home three days later to welcome Wingate (4-13) to Trojan Stadium for the third consecutive time. The Trojans defeated WU twice in the span of three days last season, downing the Bulldogs, 4-2 in the regular-season finale, then topping Wingate 2-1 in the opening round of the SAC Tournament.
Anderson wraps up the two-match homestand by playing host to Peach Belt Conference champion Flagler, which finished fifth in the national polls, going 17-3-3 overall last year. The Saints won their first-ever PBC tournament title last year and advanced to the NCAA’s Elite Eight.
The Trojans open a two-match road swing at Carson-Newman on Oct. 20, then pay a call on Francis Marion and first-year head coach John Campbell on Oct. 24 for their final nonconference matchup of the season.
In a rematch of last year’s SAC Tournament Championship, Anderson wraps up the regular season by playing host to Lenoir-Rhyne (9-9-3) on Homecoming (Oct. 27). Last season, AU edged the Bears, 1-0, on a goal by senior Ryan Messick in the 95th minute as the Trojans captured their second consecutive conference title.
The 2012 South Atlantic Conference Tournament will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 30, with the quarterfinal rounds being held on the campuses of the four highest seeds. Semifinal and final round action is scheduled for Nov. 2 and Nov. 4, respectively at the Manchester Meadows Soccer Complex in Rock Hill, S.C.