Two weeks of Atlantic Sun Men’s Soccer is in the books and we are only 34 games away from the beginning of the conference schedule on September 30th. Week two saw Mercer and Belmont claim non-conference tournament titles, while Jacksonville trumped UNC Greensboro and ETSU bested Bradley.
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They are the Champions
Mercer travelled up to High Point, N.C. for the Flash Gordon Motors Invitational and came back to the Peach State with the tournament title after blanking Radford 3-0 and tying host school, High Point, 2-2. The Bears claimed the tournament by goal differential over High Point. Belmont hosted the Mafiaoza’s Invitational and defeated Cenetenary, 5-2, and Gardner-Webb, 2-1, to claim a tournament title of their own. Lipscomb also had a 2-0 record in the tournament as well, but the Bruins owned the higher goals scored total to give Belmont the tournament crown ahead of its Boulevard rivals.
Darko Strikes Again
Jacksonville’s Darko Karamatic continued his success in winning games as he registered a game-winner against UNC-Greensboro to increase his season total to three. Karamatic’s goal in the 27th minute was the decisive one in the game and gave the Dolphins a win over the regionally-ranked Spartans.
A-Sun Receiving Regional Recognition
After going 2-0-1 on the week, the Dolphins jumped into the NSCAA South Region rankings debuting in the eighth spot. Jacksonville sits at 3-1-1 on the season with four non-conference games remaining before the start of A-Sun play. In the previous poll, FGCU saw their name in fifth in the same poll after defeating South Florida on the road to open the season. The Eagles also received votes in the national poll that same week.
Living Up to Expectations
Sophomores Brandon Tarr and Brett Petricek earned A-Sun Player of the Week awards after impressive showings for their week of play. Both players were named to the Preseason A-Sun All-Conference team and were two of four sophomores named to the team. Tarr tallied three goals and an assist on the week, which included scoring both goals against Gardner-Webb to help Belmont to the Mafiaoza’s Invitational title. Petricek recorded his second shutout of the season in a win against Radford en route to the Flash Gordon Motors Invitational title.
A-Sun Players and Teams on the National Scene
Six players in the Atlantic Sun rank in the top ten of the NCAA in several statistics, while Stetson as a team ranks nationally in two categories. The Hatters are tops in the NCAA in average goals per game as they have scored 12 goals in the first three games, while taking 7th nationally for total goals with 12. On the individual level, USC Upstate’s Timo Foerster and Hakeem King are tied for eighth in points per game at 1.33, while Foerster also ranks second in assists per game at 1.33 and fourth in total assists.
Stetson’s Niels De Jonck and Jacksonville’s Darko Karamatic are tied for ninth with goals per game with 1.0, while Karamatic is also seventh in total goals with four. Along with Foerster, Stetson’s Jonathan Mendoza also averages 1.33 assists per game to rank second in the nation, while Lipscomb’s Joey Chiappetta is sixth with one assist per game.
Looking Ahead to this Week
Campbell has arguably the toughest test this week as they face two 2009 NCAA Tournament Participants in UNC Wilmington and Charlotte, both at home. The Camels takes on the Seahawks on Wednesday at 7 p.m. before taking on the 49ers, Saturday at the same time. FGCU continues with their tough non-conference slate by battling No. 9 Ohio State, who are 4-0 on the season, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., but before facing the Buckeyes the Eagles square off with Drexel, who is ranked No. 5 in the South Atlantic Region on Friday in the Embassy Suites Kick-Off Classic. Also on Friday, USC Upstate plays crosstown rival, Wofford, who reached the NCAA Tournament last season.
Two other teams, Stetson and Lipscomb, host tournaments this weekend as the Hatters face Manhattan and FIU, No. 10 in the South Region, in the Stetson Soccer Classic, while the Bisons square off against UAB and UNC Asheville in the Hyatt Place Select Lipscomb Invitational.