Men's soccer opens 2012 at home Thursday
August 27, 2012
NEWBERRY – The 2012 Newberry College home sports calendar kicks-off Thursday afternoon as the Wolves men’s soccer team play host to the visiting Georgia Southwestern Hurricanes before traveling to Lander for a Saturday match against the Bearcats.
The Wolves return 14 letterwinners from a season ago, which saw Newberry finish the year 5-12-0 (1-8-0 South Atlantic Conference). Of those 14 returning players, eight return from last season’s primary starting lineup. Newberry’s roster has grown since last year as head coach Barry Slagle added 15 newcomers to the mix.
After starting out the 2011 season as the teams’ starter in goal, junior Patrick Sweatt returns from injury and look to repeat his strong start from a season ago. Sweatt opened the 2011 season with six straight starts between the pipes, which saw the native of Indian Land post back-to-back clean sheets with victories over Pfeiffer and USC Aiken.
The Wolves will look to top last season’s goal total of 21 with the team’s leading scorer from a year ago returning in senior Kofi Kufuor (Accra, Ghana). The Preseason All-SAC Second Team honoree tallied seven goals last season and will be joined again up top by sophomore Kyle Maitland (Columbia, S.C). Maitland was the number two scorer a year ago for the Wolves with five goals on the season.
Newberry also returns senior captains Colt Priest (Marietta, Ga.) and Adrian Ochoa (East Point, Ga.) to the fold. Both Priest and Ochoa started all 17 matches for the Wolves a season ago. A defender, Priest tallied a goal and three assists, while in the midfield Ochoa equaled his co-captain in the two statistical categories.
On Thursday, the Wolves open with a visit from Georgia Southwestern. The Hurricanes, picked to finish 10th in the Peach Belt Conference, will be without their top scorers from a year ago. The top returning goal scorer from last season’s squad is Jon-Luke Cannada, who netted a pair of goals for the Hurricanes in 2011.
Last season’s starting goalkeeper, Cade Jones returns for Georgia Southwestern after posting a 1.95 goals against average a year ago. Thursday’s meeting will the first ever meeting between the two schools.
Saturday’s match with Lander will feature a Bearcats squad looking for revenge from last season’s overtime loss at Newberry. In overtime Kufuor beat the Bearcats keeper and secured a 2-1 overtime victory for the Wolves against then-No. 9 Lander. The Bearcats are picked to finish fourth in the Peach Belt Conference. The Bearcats placed two student-athletes on the Preseason All-Conference team in last season’s leading scorer Brett Jankouskas and 2011 NSCAA All-Southeast Region selection Clement Simonin.
Matt Atkinson, who started seven matches between the posts for Lander in 2011, returns for his senior season after posting a goals against average of 1.45 and a record of 3-2-2 with two clean sheets. The Wolves are 1-8-1 against the Bearcats dating back to 1998, and have yet to pick up a win or draw in Greenwood.
Newberry opens the 2012 season at 4 p.m. on Thursday when the Wolves host Georgia Southwestern. The Wolves travel to Greenwood on Saturday for a 1 p.m. scheduled kickoff.