The East Tennessee State University soccer teams are finally all back together after the summer apart, and are prepared to improve on where they left off and excel for the rest of the season.
The women have opened up with two exhibition matches, the first being at ETSU against Lipscomb and the second against Gardner-Webb of North Carolina.
Both matches went in favor of the Bucs and show promise for what is to be expected of the women once conference play starts.
Like last season, the women are looking to play their attractive-style of soccer that is very possession based.
“When we do that well, it’s very pleasing to the eye,” said Head Coach Adam Sayers. “It’s very attractive and exciting and for periods of the season we did that brilliantly.”
Sayers was impressed with his team last year when going into the first part of conference play. They were undefeated, and then later results started to go against them. Going into the 2016 season, the Bucs are looking to remedy the errors that put them behind last season.
“A few lacks in concentration and a few errors can be the difference in winning and losing,” Sayers said. “And in those games [the last few] for us it was.”
Since the team has been back together they have been working on reemphasizing their principles as a squad and perfecting their system to see what is going to work best for them.
Sayers was very pleased with the team spirit last season, and with almost all returning players, he hopes that that will continue to motivate them.
Sayers notes that there is a lot of potential and talent on this 2016 team, including newcomer Georgia Allen (Suffolk, England), who scored both goals against Lipscomb.
“The new players have contributed, but so have the returning players and it’s a really good team effort,” Sayers said. “That is what we will need going forward, a really strong collective effort and shared responsibility.”
The men’s team is also looking to improve on their finish from last year, with an overall record of 8-7-4.
The first major deciding factor for the men last season was beating the University of Kentucky 3-1, who at the time was ranked 20th in the country.
“It was good that we were able to catch fire at the right times,” said Head Coach Bo Oshoniyi.
After that, the team was able to earn their spot in the SoCon final, but with a disappointing loss of 1-0 to Furman. Coach believes that this will really get the guys going for the 2016 season, with a lot of returning players and a few newcomers, the team has a fire in them to go all the way.
“Our team culture is getting better and its something we are looking to build on this season and bring over from last year,” Oshoniyi said.
With only a few days of practice under their belt, the guys have been working on getting everybody together and on the same page so they can be successful. They are expecting good opening exhibition play against Virginia Tech and Milligan, but also much more.
“We can’t expect anything less than a conference championship,” Oshoniyi said.