Scots soccer starts off strong

Maryville College’s men’s and women’s soccer teams were involved in the college’s Bicentennial Invitational on the weekend of Aug. 30 and 31. 

Both of Coach Pepe Fernandez’s teams went 2-0 in the season’s opening weekend on the pitch and accumulated a staggering amount of 17 goals. 

Women’s soccer scored ten of these tallies with 24 shots on goal. Those points were split between two five-point games, and both contained 12 shots on goal. 

Seniors Shannon Reagan and Hannah Clothier led the start of the season with a pair of attacks that tickled the twine. Sophomore Taylor Frizen also had a strong outing in the season opener, hitting two goals with three shots, which lead the Scots past Birmingham Southern.

Shannon Reagan takes her scoring shot on Birmingham Southern.

Photo courtesy of Eric Etchinson

The second game on the pitch for women’s soccer was a much more concerted effort from the Scots. The game included goals from five different players, and 25 shots were taken, which was five more than the previous game. The opposing team from Pfeiffer University hoisted three points against the Scots, but the effort proved to be too little, too late.

Coach Fernandez’s other squad accumulated the other seven points with a five-point game on Friday with a close 2-1 game the following day. 

The first game for the men turned out to be quite similar to the women’s second game. The Scots tallied five points in their first game with a total of five players scoring in the game. They had an astounding 14 shots on goal; it was a great effort to take their opener against Southern Virginia 5-0.

Scot Aaaron Rucker (7) watches on as Austin Vinyard (26) take his go-ahead bicycle shot to put the Scots up 1-0 on Randolph College.

Photo Courtesy of Eric Etchison

Scots men’s second game was a much closer game on the pitch, leaving the Scots with a 2-1 victory. They were still able to get nine shots on goal in the low-scoring game. Junior Johnny Rakhmonberdiev tallied a goal along with junior Austin Vinyard. Freshman goalie Mykal Manfred had a great game, totaling four saves in the 90 minutes he had on the pitch.

“It might have been one of the best offensive outputs we’ve had in an opening weekend,” Coach Fernandez said, reflecting on the Bicentennial Invitational. He also looks on toward the coming season and is confident about the quality of teams that the Scots will be facing this year.

“We’re going to places where you traditionally have top ten teams,” Fernandez said. 

He is excited for the team to get “a completely different experience” this year with being able to play on turf and with the fierce competition. Fernandez is trying something new on his squads by coaching with a “Game Tracker” software. 

“Each player is wearing a GPS tracker that measures a lot of performance activities, so we know how far they’ve run, how fast they’ve run, the number of impacts they’ve had, and the intensity they’ve worked at. After each practice, game, recovery, whatever we’re doing that day, the information is uploaded, and we are able to look at each person individually. Then we look at how they compare to themselves and the team,” Fernandez said. 

He is looking for this software to help to keep his teams in shape and fresh for the upcoming months, so the Scots can follow up the men’s 14-4-1 season and the women’s 13-6 season from last year.

The Scots soccer squads are looking forward to the rest of their seasons and hope to continue the early 2-0 start in the Maryville College Bicentennial Invitational. Coach Fernandez has faith in his teams and hopes the Scots Nation will be backing them this season.

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