LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant men's soccer team broke out in a big way during the 2018 campaign. Under second-year head coach Scott Bosgraf, the Scots vaulted to near the top of the USA South and played for a conference tournament title.
Covenant finished the year with a 14-6-1 overall record and a 9-2-1 mark in the USA South. The nine conference wins tied a program record with the 2002 squad that also won nine matches in the AAC.
Six players earned All-USA South honors, the most since 2014. Jesse Riggs was a first team honoree, while Christopher Kitchen and Paul Lemay were second team choices, and Carl Simakoff, Josh Brower, and Parker Owen third team selections.
The Scots started the year with three wins over Tennessee Wesleyan, Millsaps, and at Sewanee. Covenant had one of its biggest wins of the year on Sept. 11 at Maryville in a 3-0 shutout.
On Oct. 6, the Scots were just 7-5-1 and 4-2-1 in league play after being defeated 5-1 on the road at N.C. Wesleyan one day earlier. However, a 5-1 win at Methodist started a stretch of seven consecutive wins through Nov. 2. During the run, Covenant had four shutouts (the longest streak of shutouts since 1994) and outscored opponents 21-3. The run pushed Covenant into the No. 2 seed in the West Division for the USA South Tournament and the Scots capitalized on the position to make a deep run.
MATCH OF THE YEAR:
Before Covenant could make its run over the final weeks of the regular season, it had to go on the road and play a tough Piedmont squad. On Oct. 10, the Scots trailed Piedmont in the West Division standings, but made the trip to Demorest for a key matchup.
Piedmont scored in the 19th minute and held a 1-0 lead into the final 10 minutes of regulation.
In the 82nd minute, the Scots finally broke through as Mercer Stout played a short pass to Austin Berry inside the box. Berry controlled the ball off his chest to his foot where he got off a strong attempt into the lower corner of the net to even the score at 1-1. The score was Berry's second of the season at the time.
Berry's score pushed the match into overtime. In the first overtime, Covenant had two chances but Parker Owen's attempt was saved and Anthony Buzzeo's header missed high. In the final extra session, Paul Lemay made two saves at the net for the Scots to keep the match alive.
Into the final minute of the second overtime, Covenant found gold. Josh Brower's free kick from the right-side of the box crossed into the 18 and found the head of Jake Major, who knocked it into the net from the top of the six and past Piedmont keeper Blayton Duncan for the score with just 38 seconds left on the clock.
The win vaulted the Scots into first place in the division and gave Covenant a tiebreaker over Piedmont. The Scots would later use that advantage in the USA South Tournament as Piedmont had to travel to Lookout Mountain for a first round match where Covenant took a 3-0 victory on Oct. 30.
The win was also the second victory in the Scots' seven-match win streak.
The Scots capped Homecoming weekend with a 3-1 win over Brevard on Sept. 15, 2018
Paul Lemay - 13-5-1, 75 saves (.806 save percentage), 0.99 goals against average, six shutouts... Finished second in the USA South in save percentage, wins, and shutouts
USA South All-Sportsmanship
USA South Defensive Player of the Week
Paul Lemay - Sept. 17
USA South Rookie of the Week
Austin Berry - Oct. 22
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTS
Be sure to follow the Scots all season long on athletics.covenant.edu and on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for up-to-date scores, news and other information. To receive text alerts with score updates or e-newsletters, click here