Men’s soccer falls to Covenant in conference final

After grabbing a fifth place finish and finishing the regular season with a 6-3-1 record in the USA South Conference and an 11-5-1 record overall, the Maryville College men’s soccer team advanced to the finals in the USA South Conference tournament. Maryville started the season 0-2, but the Scots responded by winning the next six games in a row, which was enough to earn a high seed in the conference. Maryville played in the first round against Methodist, winning 2-1 with goals from Seth Douthat and Thomas Palmer. Maryville would then go on to beat Greensboro in the second round, shutting the Pride out 2-0. However, the Scots would ultimately fall in the Finals to Covenant, getting shut out 2-0.

Maryville started 0-2 with losses coming from non-conference opponents Johns Hopkins and Millsaps. After a slow start, the Scots gathered momentum by beating Wilmington 3-0. The Scots would then take the winning streak to six in a row, including wins against William Peace and Sewanee. Maryville closed out the season losing to Greensboro 1-0, but the six game winning streak was enough to earn Maryville a fifth-seed in the conference. Maryville accumulated 38 goals over the course of the regular season, which is good for fourth place in the conference.

This season the Scots have been led by goal keeper Ben Munger. The senior led the USA South in save percentage with .849. Munger also is second in the conference in goals-against with 11 and goals-against average with .69. Payne Fisher, another senior for the Scots, led the team with seven goals this year.

In the first round of conference tournament, Maryville used a strong defensive game plan to keep the Methodist Monarchs at bay. Palmer scored first in the 36th minute of the game and at the first half, the Scots were up 1-0. Then the Scots scored again at the start of the 52nd minute with a corner kick from Seth Douthat. Maryville maintained their lead the entire game, advancing to the semi-finals against the Greensboro Pride.

The second round of the tournament was very similar to the first round for the Scots. Maryville struck first in the 21st minute from a goal by Randy Reichenburger. Maryville would continue this dominance from the leg of Palmer, who scored in the 43rd minute of the first half. Maryville shut out the Pride for the rest of the game and advanced to the Finals in Martinsburg, Virginia.

Maryville’s offense, however, would eventually stall in the Championship round against Covenant. Covenant’s defense proved too strong for the Scots and shut them out by a score of 2-0. Covenant’s two goals came in the 11th minute from Ian Merideth and in the 88th minute from Joel Friesen. In the end, even though the Scots were shut out in the championship, they have something to hang their hats on going into the offseason to develop and grow on what they accomplished this year.

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