LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- By the time the Covenant men's soccer team takes the field for its first match of 2019, it will be exactly 300 days since the Scots narrowly fell in the 2018 USA South Tournament championship. With a team stocked full of experience and talent, head coach Scott Bosgraf's squad looks to end this season on top.
Covenant will open the season on Friday, Aug. 30 against Randolph at the Maryville Bicentennial Kick-Off Classic in Maryville, Tenn.
Coming off a 14-win campaign last season, the Scots return seven starters from last year's team. With that experience, combined with a talented recruiting class, Covenant was picked to dethrone rival Maryville by the USA South coaches in the league's annual preseason poll.
There is no shortage for talent up and down the Covenant roster in 2019. The Scots return four All-USA South performers, its top three goal scorers, and its starting goalkeeper from a squad that outscored opponents 51-23 last season.
Senior Jesse Riggs led the Scots with eight goals a season ago and earned first team All-USA South. He is joined by fellow senior Josh Brower (five goals and six assists) and junior Parker Owen (six goals) as the team's leading returning scorers. Brower and Owen both collected All-USA South honors as well.
After playing in a career-high 19 matches last year, Paul Lemay will man the keeper position once again. The senior was a second team All-USA South selection after earning a 0.99 goals against average with six shutouts a season ago. Lemay will be bolstered on the back line by returners in junior Noah Lee, and seniors Matt Morefield and Blake Thomas. Junior Isaac Schoutko and sophomore Henry Hooks also return at the keeper spot.
Depth looks to be a strength of the Scots with key players in senior Anthony Buzzeo (four goals), junior Jake Major (five goals), and sophomores Austin Berry (four goals, two assists), Keegan Weekley (three goals, three assists), Mercer Stout (two goals, one assist) and Griffin Felton all coming off strong seasons. Seniors Seth Robinson and Connor McGimsey, along with junior Jack Allen, add depth and leadership to the squad.
The freshman class includes six players (Anthony Calbo, Thomas Drake, Nathan Laughlin, Jay Patterson, Robert Pettit, Aaron Riggs) that will provide depth to Bosgraf's roster. Riggs (younger brother of Jesse), Patterson, and Drake all earned all-state honors during their high school careers, while Calbo, Laughlin, and Pettit (younger brother of former Scot, Ethan Pettit) also bring a wealth of talent to the Scots.
Covenant opens the new campaign on Aug. 30 against Randolph in the Maryville Bicentennial Kick-Off Classic. Covenant completes the first weekend of play against Southern Virginia in the same event. The home opener is set for Friday, Sept. 6 against region foe Berry. It will be the first of two regular season meetings between the Scots and Vikings.
Covenant opens the lengthy homestand against USA South foe Berea on Sept. 18 followed by Piedmont (Sept. 20) and Pfeiffer (Sept. 21) later in the week. The following weekend is Homecoming as the Scots will host N.C. Wesleyan on Friday, Sept. 27 and Methodist on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Over the final month of the regular season, Covenant will play just one home match. The Scots host rival, and defending USA South champion, Maryville for Senior Day on Saturday, Oct. 12.
The 2019 USA South Tournament will begin on Nov. 2 with the top four teams in each division qualifying. Divisional seeds 1-2 host quarterfinal round matches on Nov. 2, then the highest remaining seed will host the semifinals and championship on Nov. 8-9.
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