Last week, the Bucs wrapped up regular season play at Mercer University with their first ever first place conference win.
Joao Ramalho (Monte Santo, Brazil) is receiving national recognition for his two goals in the match against Mercer, as well as teammate Cameron Woodfin (Old Hickory, Tenn.) who assisted Ramalho in both goals. Woodfin leads the NCAA Division 1 with 11 total assists this season.
The ETSU campus and community are buzzing about men’s soccer, building the excitement even more for the Bucs to capitalize in the upcoming tournament.
The team is preparing for the Southern Conference Tournament, where they receive a first round bye due to coming out on top in the regular season conference rankings.
While it is great that the Bucs have over a week to get everyone rested and healthy, it is difficult going from playing two games a week to having so much time off.
“We’re trying to find that balance right now,” said Head Coach Bo Oshoniyi. “Having inter-squad scrimmage between the guys to kind of replicate a game so we stay in that rhythm of playing matches.”
The team is fine-tuning their possession and defensive skills, which will be important no matter their opponent. The inter-squad scrimmages are also prepping the guys for real-life, goal-scoring opportunities.
The Bucs will play in the semi-final match against UNC-Greensboro, which defeated Furman.
In the regular season, Furman and ETSU tied in both of their meetings; once in double-overtime. Against UNCG, the Bucs came out on top in both games. However, the first match-up was a hard-fought 4-3 win that went into double-overtime, with both teams putting high scores on the board.
Starting Sunday, practice will be geared towards analyzing highs and lows against UNCG.
The semi-final game will be at UNCG, who is hosting the SoCon Tournament, on Nov. 10 at 3:30 pm. With huge aspirations to win this match, the Bucs hope to also be in the championship game that following Saturday on Nov. 12.
“I think the guys are anxious and ready to get after it and play in that semi-final game,” Oshoniyi said.
The excitement from the win over Mercer to secure first place is still evident on the pitch in practice, and that drive is what the Bucs are looking to use to win it all.