In 2008, ETSU kicked off its inaugural season in the Atlantic Sun Conference and finished the season with only one conference victory. Fast forward to 2010 and the Bucs entered their A-Sun Championship semifinal as the host and top-seed against No. 4 Lipscomb with a 13-5 record and seven conference victories, more A-Sun wins than the first two years combined.
“The support that this team has received from the whole athletic staff at ETSU has really been the driving force behind the success of the program and they allowed us to achieve what we have so quickly,” said ETSU’s lone senior Guilherme Reis.
Now the Bucs have a chance to advance to the NCAA Tournament after claiming a 1-0 double overtime victory on a last-second goal by Theo Yang, a sophomore midfielder. Yang’s goal with 7.2 seconds left in the second overtime sent the Buccaneer faithful at Summers-Taylor Stadium into a frenzy as the Bucs team stormed the field to celebrate the game-winner.
“The players have worked so hard over the three-year period and they have improved considerably and the staff has worked to bring in quality student-athletes to the program and try to build a tradition towards the right direction,” head coach Scott Calabrese said of his team.
ETSU’s quick rise to success might come as a surprise to most around the conference, but for ETSU Head Coach Scott Calabrese it was all a part of the Bucs’ master plan.
“Believe it or not, we planned to be in the final of the A-Sun Championship, which was a very ambitious goal for us considering how competitive Division I soccer is. However, the ambition of the staff and of the players is to compete hard each time we come out.”
With only one team between ETSU and a guaranteed berth in the NCAA Tournament, the Bucs now face Stetson, who is 4-0 all-time against ETSU, after the Hatters defeated Jacksonville 1-0 in the opening semifinal.
“Stetson is a team that we have not beaten since the inception of the program and we have beaten every other A-Sun team in the past three seasons and they knocked us out of the tournament last year,” Calabrese said of their pending opponent. “So in order for us to achieve our goal of beating every team in the conference this season we will have to be at our absolute finest on Saturday.”