On Tuesday, Sept. 14, the North Greenville men’s soccer team will look to further their early season success against Division II Peach Belt Conference member USC-Aiken.
After finishing 2009 seventh in their conference, the Pacers (0-3-1) return 12 lettermen, five of which were starters last season while the Crusaders return seven starters from a 2009 squad that finished 9-8-1.
So far in 2010, North Greenville is 2-1 as they have defeated Toccoa Falls College and Virginia Intermont College, both by scores of 3-0 and fell to Emmanuel College 2-1 this past weekend.
Players to Watch:
-Junior midfielder Chandler Patterson
Arguably one of the fastest players in Division II, Patterson has used his speed and quickness to get behind opposing defenses and score two goals on eight shots. Patterson will see a lot of the ball against the Pacers as he is sure to be the focus of the Crusader offense and have multiple opportunities to get shots off against the defense.
-Sophomore defender Ben Bosco
The anchor in the middle for the Crusader defense, Bosco scored in the season’s first game on a penalty kick in the closing minutes. Bosco’s tenacity slows opposing offenses and has helped North Greenville post two consecutive shutouts to open the season.
-Senior goalkeeper Andray Charles
After recording 54 saves in 15 games last season, Charles returns as the Pacers starting goalkeeper in 2010. In the team’s first four games, he has allowed seven goals in three games played and recorded 15 saves.
-Sophomore defender Brett Van Pelt
Van Pelt began his career at USC-Aiken as a forward registering four goals in his first season to go along with three assists. Pacers coach Ike Ofoje moved him back to defense in 2010 to provide athleticism to the back line. However, Van Pelt still has offensive ability as he has scored one of the team’s two goals this season.
Key Players Out for Crusaders and Pacers
-Junior midfielder Jonathan Restrepo
Restrepo, last season’s leading goal scorer (12), has been attacking early and often this season scoring two goals on 10 shots. He has also recorded one assist while being a leader in the center of the field for the Crusaders. However, in North Greenville’s last game against Emmanuel College, Restrepo received a red card which will force him to sit out the contest against USC-Aiken.
-Senior midfielder Troy Watson
The 2009 All-Conference selection has played only one of the four games so far for the Pacers which is one reason why the team has struggled early. If Watson sees the field on Tuesday it will be in limited time due to an injury that has hampered him throughout the early part of 2010. Watson led the team last season scoring seven goals and seven assists.
Keys to the Game for North Greenville
-Communication is key
In order to take advantage of the Pacers’ early season struggles, the Crusaders must play as a unit and play strong for the entire 90 minutes.
-Utilize speed and strength
The Crusaders are an athletic team with speed on the outside and strength in the middle. North Greenville must have both aspects working in harmony in order to counter the size of USC-Aiken.
-Play with confidence
The Pacers are the Crusaders’ toughest opponent so far in 2010. North Greenville must use the confidence developed by early season victories to play to their potential and keep themselves in a position to win.
The Crusaders and Pacers square off in Pepsi Stadium at 7 p.m. and all fans in attendance are encouraged to dress in white. Students with a North Greenville ID get into the game for free. Tickets for fans without an NGU ID will be $5 for adults and kids 6 and under get into the stadium for free.