Although their season ended 4 months ago with a third-place, consolation match victory over Mid-America Christian, members of the Covenant College men's soccer team got together one last time and officially drew an end to the 2009-2010 year with a closing awards banquet. Amongst those in attendance at the banquet were NSCAA All-American Julian Allgeier, newly elected captain Josh Johnson, and outgoing seniors Ben Wagner, Derek Wieldraayer, Ryan Yackel, Ford Quarterman, William Wolfe, and Dave Nielson.
Covenant College soccer coach Nathan Pifer has announced the first wave of his team's 2010 recruiting class. Eight young men have decided to attend Covenant College beginning this fall 2010 with plans of playing for the Scots soccer program.
The NCCAA has released the 2009 men's and women's soccer award-winners, and Covenant College is proud to announce that Julian Allgeier and Jenny Carter have been named All-Americans. Both players had remarkable seasons as they each led their respective teams to the semifinals of the NCCAA national tournament:
Fifteen seconds. That was all the time the Covenant College men's soccer team had remaining in their season as they found themselves down 3-2 to Mount Vernon Nazarene with just a quarter of a minute left to play in their opening match of the NCCAA National Tournament. An inkling of hope, though, laid at the foot of Julian Allgeier, who prepared to take a direct free kick at the top of the box for what surely was the Scot's final chance of the game. If he scored he was the hero. If he missed, Covenant in all likelihood would go on to be eliminated in the first round of the NCCAA National Tournament. "I looked up at the clock and realized it was now or never, " Allgeier said, "I remained calm and put the shot on target.
The Covenant men's and women's soccer teams have each won their quarterfinal match in the NCCAA national tournament and have advanced to the semifinals to be played Thursday. The men played in Wednesday's 2:30 game and started out strong, getting a goal in the first 5 minutes by junior David Pifer. Mt. Vernon Nazarene bounced back, though, and scored three goals of their own before the halftime intermission. After the break, the Scots managed their second goal of the game from Julian Allgeier just 10 minutes into the second half, but time still seemed to be working against them. As the final minute began, the score remained 3-2, and Mt. Vernon was on the verge of victory. But, with less than 16 seconds left, an awarded free kick right outside the penalty box gave Covenant the opportunity they needed. Julian Allgeier made no mistake in smacking the direct free kick by Cougar keeper Trevor Stewart to equalize the match and send the game into added time. In the overtime session, David Pifer- who has scored the game's first goal roughly 90 minutes prior- was dragged down in the box by a Cougar defender, and Julian Allgeier was chosen to take the PK. Again, Allgeier made no mistake in booting home this time the golden goal and sending his team on to the semifinals.
After hearing this past summer that the school's athletic program had decided to transition to the NCAA's Division III, the Covenant College men's soccer team knew they would not be able to play for the AAC, NAIA, or NCAA championships. But what they did know, was that they would have a shot at qualifying for the NCCAA national championships in Florida. "From the beginning of the season we've talked about going to nationals," said Coach Nathan Pifer, "We want to go for our seniors, and we want to go so we can win a championship."
The Covenant College men's soccer team found itself five hours northwest at Mid Continent College this past Friday for the NCCAA regional semifinals against King College. The winner would earn the right to play in the final against Oakland City on Saturday for a shot at advancing to the national tournament. First, though, the Scots had to eliminate their opponents King, who they had beaten 3-1 on homecoming earlier in the year. With King seeking to avenge the loss, the Scots knew they needed to set the tone early, and they did just that as freshman Colby Robbins scored within the first fifteen minutes of the opening half. A Julian Allgeier free kick found forward Brian Stair's head, and the junior's deft flick found Robbins wide open at the far post.
Saturday was the final regular season game and senior day for the Covenant College men's soccer team, which, for the eight seniors on the squad, meant they would be playing their last game in Covenant colors on Scotland Yard. Indeed, Ben Wagner, Scott Schindler, William Wolfe, Ryan Yackel, David Nielson, Brent Ripple, Ford Quarterman, and Derek Wieldraayer were all recognized, and, with the exception of the injured Quarterman, were all ready to play their part in defeating visitors Berry College.
Entering the game, Union College had posted an impressive 9-4-2 record on the season, while Covenant, in their own right, had built an almost identical 8-4-2 record. So, when the two former conference foes met at Bulldog Field on Tuesday, it appeared that all the pieces for a closely contested game had fallen into place. And indeed it was so for a large majority of the game, as the Scots never found themselves more than a goal ahead of their opposition, although the run of play and the shot count (24-11 in Covenant's favor) seemed to show that the game wasn't quite as close as the score suggested.
Covenant College junior forward Brian Stair continued his fine run of form Wednesday, scoring three goals against Piedmont College en-route to a 6-0 Covenant victory. Goals from seniors Ford Quarterman and Derek Wieldraayer, along with an own goal by Piedmont, accompanied Stair's three strikes on the day.
Before last weekend's game against Asbury college, in which he netted the first two goals in a 6-1 victory, freshman midfielder Colby Robbins had been struggling to get his name on the score sheet. But, after scoring two in Covenant's 3-0 victory over Montreat College, any lingering doubts that Robbins can't score seem to have evaporated. "It feels good to score, especially against a team like Montreat," said Robbins, "We've been scoring some good goals as a team and I'm happy to be a part of it." Indeed, Robbins played a large part in the action on Saturday, opening the scoring in the 25th minute after David Pifer's 80-yard run set him up to slide the ball past goalkeeper Howard Fisher for the 1-0 Covenant advantage.
Saturday saw the Covenant College men's soccer team travel north to face the Asbury College Eagles in a game where the temperature, the Asbury players, and the Scots' shots seemed to be dropping with regularity. Colby Robbins started the scoring on the chilly night with a well struck penalty kick after senior Ford Quarterman was brought down in the box by a late tackle. The freshman Robbins made no mistake as he smashed the kick into the roof of the net for a 1-0 Covenant lead and the first goal of his Covenant career. He also became the first Scot to score from the spot this season after the team was 0 for 2 in previous penalty attempts.
After rainfall forced Wednesday's home match against Tennessee Wesleyan to be moved away from Scotland Yard to Wesleyan's campus in Athens, Tennessee, the Covenant College men's soccer team had to travel north to play the game in opposition territory. Large puddles and falling rain were prevalent in a match that went back and forth for a majority of the time, with each team earning several chances. Although Covenant out-shot Wesleyan 26-21, the Scots were denied a goal as Wesleyan keeper Miguel Valadez made several key stops.
Saturday was a homecoming out of the ordinary for the Covenant College men's soccer team, as heavy amounts of rainfall forced the Scots to relocate their match with King College to nearby Baylor High School. But even with the sudden change in time, location, and weather, the Scots were still able to grant their alumni a happy homecoming with a 3-1 victory over the same King College Tornado who had knocked them out of national championship contention a season before. Coming off a difficult loss to former rivals Bryan, and entering the match with a 4-4-1 record, the Scots knew they needed to return to their winning ways with an important victory over King. The Tornado, ranked #7 in the nation for NCCAA, entered the match with a comparable 5-4-1 record, but was found wanting in the 22nd minute when junior David Pifer's pass found Julian Allgeier for the go ahead goal. Pifer, having dribbled inside, found space and played Allgeier a well-timed ball, with which the German striker made no mistake in putting away for his 11th goal of the season. Up 1-0, the Scots were not done scoring, though. Substitute Brian Stair latched onto an Allgeier pass and slipped it beyond the reach of goalkeeper Justin Morrell for a 2-0 lead on the stroke of halftime. It was Stair's third goal of the season, and a goal that had both Covenant players and fans alike in an optimistic mood at the break.
Last year, Covenant's regular season matchup against rivals Bryan College ended in a 2-0 home defeat for the Scots. The year before that saw the Scots travel to Bryan and lose 2-1 in a game with all the emotion and hype of a championship match. So, when Covenant made the trip to Bryan last Wednesday, they were greeted with a familiar reception. Large amounts of Bryan fans, as well as a giant TV screen, lined the sidelines as the team arrived, and when the game kicked off, both the home and away crowds made their voices heard. Indeed, Covenant hoped that the game would turn out more like their past two post-season contests against Bryan- which have both ended in Covenant victories -rather than their past two regular season losses. It was Bryan, though, who looked most likely to score from the start, coming out strong in the opening moments and controlling the play. Covenant was able to weather the storm, though, and by the end of the first half looked the more likely side to score. Julian Allgeier had a goal called back after he was judged to be offsides, and Colby Robbins was stuffed by the Bryan keeper from close range.
The Covenant College men's soccer team hosted Emory University last Wednesday in an NCAA Division III showdown. Having lost 3-0 in their away match to the Emory Eagles last year, the Scots were hoping to exact some revenge this year on their own home turf. And, for a majority of the game, it appeared as if the team was going to do just that, controlling the play and getting behind the Emory defense on multiple occasions. However, an unlucky deflection goal from Emory's Michael Scannapieco in the latter part of the second half saw the Scots fall behind 1-0. Covenant continued to press, though, with Julian Allgeier sending a shot inches wide after captain David Nielson had put him through on a breakaway. David Pifer also saw his shot blaze wide in the dying moments before the final seconds ticked off the clock. The loss put the Scots at a 3-3-1 record, and meant they would have to beat Methodist University on Saturday to return to the winning side of things. Wednesday's match also marked the first time the Scots have failed to score a goal in a game this season.
Luckily for the Covenant College men's soccer team, rain hasn't been the only thing falling in buckets lately. After netting four against the University of Alabama-Huntsville a week earlier, the Scots looked to continue their fine run of goalscoring form heading into Saturday's match against Emory and Henry College. Playing conditions, though, were not exactly ideal, as a steady downpour saw the home side's turf field become slicker and slicker with each drop that fell. Nevertheless, the Scots were able to net early through a Julian Allgeier goal in the first minute. A Derek Wieldraayer shot found its way to the German forward's foot, and he was able to turn neatly to slot home his 8th goal of the season.
The Covenant College men's soccer team took the field on Saturday playing host to NCAA Division II University of Alabama at Huntsville. Playing on a Scotland Yard pitch that had become saturated by the record amounts of rainfall in the region, the Scots knew they would have to battle both the opposition and the weather in their quest to come out on top. Shortly after kickoff, though, it was the visiting UAH Chargers who appeared the more eager side, taking the lead via a fourth-minute Sean Kerber goal. The lead would last only ten minutes, though, before Covenant junior David Pifer put away his third goal of the season after some nice combination play with freshman Colby Robbins, who provided the assist. Ten minutes later, Robbins again found himself in the middle of the action. Facing a one-on-one with UAH goalkeeper Tyler Earley, Robbins' shot was deflected high into the air where an awaiting Julian Allgeier out-leapt the UAH defense to head home his sixth goal of the season and put the Scots up 2-1 before the half.
The Covenant Scots men's soccer team took the field in neutral territory on Saturday to face the California Lutheran Kingsmen in their fourth game of the season. Entering the game with a 1-2 record, the Scots knew they needed to overcome the Kingsmen in order to get their season back on level terms. Indeed, after traveling halfway across the country and suffering a defeat to host Maryville College the night before, the Kingsmen appeared to be ripe for the taking. And, it seemed early on that the Scots would do just that, with Covenant's Julian Allgeier curling a left-footed shot beyond CLU goalkeeper Chris Capellini in just the fourth minute of play after a good pass from senior Ben Wagner. Even after going up 1-0 so early, the Scots continued to pour on the pressure. Allgeier went close with several point-blank shots and senior midfielder Ford Quarterman had a penalty kick saved. It took a Brent Ripple pass to Allgeier in the 26th minute to put the Scots up 2-0 and give them a little breathing room to end the first half. After the break, the Scots picked up right where they had left off. Allgeier took a pass from freshman Colby Robbins and slotted it home for his third of the game and a three goal lead for the Scots. Cal-Lutheran would not bow out early, though, as Senior Ryan McDermott scored two goals late in the second half to put the pressure back on Covenant. In the end, though, goalkeepers John Eger and Matt Higgins each made several key saves to help Covenant hold its ground and come away with the win.
The Covenant College Men's Soccer team traveled to North Carolina this past weekend to face NCAA Division I opposition in Winthrop and Gardner-Webb Universities. The Scots were without all-conference defender Josh Johnson, and several other players were battling minor injuries and illnesses as the team made the drive east to play in the Soccer for a Cure Tournament. Having replaced Clemson University in the tourney, the Scots came in as apparent underdogs in a tournament comprised of three NCAA Division I schools, some of which were nationally ranked. The opening match saw the Scots fall 5-1 to the Gardner-Webb University Bulldogs. Costly giveaways in their own defensive third and failure to clear the ball from their own box saw the Scots down 3-0 at halftime. In the second half, an unlucky deflection saw the Bulldogs take a 4-0 lead before they added a fifth moments later. Brian Stair grabbed a late consolation goal for Covenant with a nice left-footed shot from the top of the box.
Tuesday marked an afternoon of many firsts for the Covenant Scots men's soccer program. Aside from the obvious fact that the 5:00 match against Huntingdon was their first official game of the season, there were many other noticeable differences in a side that enters this season having narrowly missed out on a second straight NAIA National Tournament appearance last term. Gone is former head coach John Miglarese, who resigned to take the head coaching position at John Brown University this past spring. Former fan favorite Sasha Viatrov is also gone, having followed Miglarese to the Arkansas' school. Now, coach Nathan Pifer, a Covenant alum himself, is at the helm, steering the team as they begin their first season under provisional NCAA Division III membership.
Despite a hard-fought battle, the Covenant Scots lost by a score of 2-1 Saturday afternoon in an exhibition match against the Maryville College Scots. The game's first goal came as a result of a call in the penalty area, allowing Maryville's Tom Webster to score via a penalty kick. Maryville struck again with 17 minutes remaining, but Covenant's determination was not completely drained. 10 minutes later, Julian Allgeier and David Pifer assisted junior Brian Stair to halve the deficit, and for the last 7 minutes Covenant continued to fight hard. The horn sounded as a would-be game tying goal from Hunt Davidson sailed over the cross-bar. "This scrimmage gave us the opportunity to see some things that were good as well as some things that we need to work on," said Coach Nathan Pifer.
Covenant College tapped one of its own to be its new men's soccer coach, announcing former Scot Nathan Pifer as its new head coach today. Pifer has earned championship success as a head coach at both the intercollegiate and interscholastic levels.