Men’s Soccer SLIAC Tournament Preview
In the end, the SLIAC Coaches picked the right teams, the top four teams predicted in the Preseason Poll are the same four teams that will battle for the 2013 Men’s Soccer Tournament Championship. For the third straight year, the field will include Westminster College, Fontbonne University, Webster University and Greenville College.
This year’s men’s tournament semifinals will be held on Wednesday, November 6 and the championship will be on Saturday, November 8. #1 Westminster will host #4 Greenville in one half of the semifinals at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The other semifinals game will pit cross-town rivals against each other as #2 Fontbonne hosts #3 Webster at 1 p.m. The championship game will be on Friday night at the highest remaining seeds host site at 7 p.m.
- This year’s field consists of the last five regular season champions with each team finishing first at least once; Greenville repeated in 2009 and 2010.
- Fontbonne and Webster have both won the tournament four times while Greenville has won three times.
- Webster defeated Westminster 2-0 in last year’s championship game.
- Westminster, Fontbonne and Webster all finished 2-1 against tournament teams while Greenville finished 0-3 against the field.
- Westminster is making their 14th appearance in the tournament and holds a 2-14 record all-time in tournament play.
- Fontbonne is making their 18th tournament appearance and is 15-12-2 all-time.
- Webster is making their 14th tournament appearance and is 16-12 all-time.
- Greenville is making their 13th appearance and is 9-9-2 all-time.
#1 Westminster College Blue Jays
Westminster captured their second regular season SLIAC title in the last three years after going 8-1 in conference play and finishing 9-8-1 overall. The Blue Jays closed out the year by winning nine of their final 12 games, including six of their last seven. Westminster’s offense likes to force the action and was first in the conference in shots on goal with 115.
The Blue Jays had four players record at least five goals, led by Drew Cook with seven goals. Peter Gerber added six goals while Connor Hollrah and Gcinmuzi Shongwe each chipped in with five goals. Freshman keeper Raul Romero took control of the net for Westminster late in the season and finished with a 75-percent save percentage while recording 53 saves and two shutouts.
#2 Fontbonne University Griffins
Fontbonne finished the regular season with a 13-6-1 overall record and an 8-1 record in the SLIAC. The Griffins are the hottest team in the conference having won their last five games including a 6-0 win over Blackburn in their regular season finale. Fontbonne was the league’s second highest scoring team this season with 53 goals in 20 games. The Griffins were also just as impressive defensively limiting opponents to 24 goals this season, the second fewest in the league.
The Griffins are paced by the league’s leading scorer Zach Meyer. Meyer notched 17 goals and two assists this season for 36 total points. He tallied almost half of his team’s game winning goals with six this season. The Griffins have used a rotation in net this season with three players logging at least 450 minutes of action. Zach Will has seen the most time with just under 800 minutes in net and holding a 79-percent save percentage while recording 44 saves. Ryan Essenpreis has played in seven games this season and holds a 90-percent save percentage with 28 saves in almost 560 minutes.
#3 Webster University Gorloks
Webster wrapped up the regular season with a 13-3-3 overall record and an 8-1 mark in the SLIAC. Webster closed out the season by winning 10 of their final 11 games. Their only loss during that stretch was a 3-0 loss to Fontbonne. Webster relies on a strong defense that led the league in fewest goals allowed with 19.
Webster’s offense is spread around with Patrick McCaffrey leading the team with seven goals. Mike Wells and BJ Dryer are tied for second on the team with six goals while Kris Brown has chipped in with five goals. Webster recorded six shutouts this season in large part to a sound back line and keeper Brian Woodward. Woodward logged nearly every minute in net for the Gorloks this season and finished with a 1.05 goals-against average with 56 saves and a 75-percent save percentage.
#4 Greenville College Panthers
Greenville pushed their way into the tournament with a 6-9-4 overall record and a 5-3-1 record in the conference. The Panthers were able to get into the tournament despite going 0-2-1 in their final three games. The Panthers were propelled into the tournament thanks in large part to a four game winning streak in mid-October. The Panthers made the best of their chances and were second in the league in shot percentage at 53-percent.
Jacob Krisher led the team in scoring with 23 points, tallying nine goals and five assists. Dusty Knoll added six goals while Spencer Pulliam recorded five goals and four assists. Senior defender Robert Wright helped transition the team’s attack and led the team with six assists. Thomas Crown was the mainstay in net for Greenville with almost 1300 minutes played and a 74-percent save percentage; finishing fourth in the conference in saves with 78.
Courtesy of SLIAC SID