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Season-in-Review: Men's Soccer

Post-goal celebration
Nina Grauley/ Sports Information

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LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Incredible, remarkable, or any other positive adjective would suffice when describing the 2019 Covenant men's soccer team.

Under the guidance of third-year head coach Scott Bosgraf and a loaded senior class, the Scots pulled off one of the top seasons in program history... and that is saying a lot considering the rich history of Covenant men's soccer.

Covenant went 18-2-2 overall and 13-0 in the USA South to capture the West Division regular season title, the first conference regular season championship in the program's NCAA era. The Scots did not lose at Scotland Yard, going 8-0-1 and outscoring opponents by an astounding 27-3 on the home turf. Overall, Covenant outscored the opposition 65-15 on the year with nine shutouts.

Time after time, Covenant was tested in a tough USA South but the Scots prevailed at each point during the regular season. Covenant became the first USA South team to go undefeated with no ties since 2012 and set the USA South, and program, record for conference wins (13). It was the third time in program history that Covenant went undefeated with no ties in conference play and the fifth time with zero losses.

The program saw two players earn All-America honors as Jesse Riggs was a United Soccer Coaches second team choice, while Paul Lemay earned CoSIDA Academic All-America second team. The Scots produced six All-USA South first team selections, and eight total All-USA South choices, to go along with the conference's Goalkeeper of the Year in Lemay and the Coach of the Year in Bosgraf. 

Statistically, Covenant was not just one of the best in the conference but also the country. Covenant finished in the top-20 in the nation in goals against average (0.67), 11th in scoring offense (2.95 goals per match), and was 12th in total points (174). Josh Brower was 10th in the nation in assists (13) and his 37 total points ranked 31st. Mercer Stout's seven game-winning goals led the USA South and was seventh in the nation, while Lemay was 20th in Division III in save percentage (.847).

MATCH OF THE YEAR

In a rematch of the 2018 USA South Tournament championship, Covenant hosted Maryville for Senior Day on Oct. 12. Needing a win to solidify its spot atop the USA South West Division, Covenant came up clutch in one of the top matches of the year.

Jesse Riggs' penalty kick in the 77th minute and a stout defensive effort from Covenant lifted the Scots to a pivotal, 1-0, victory over Maryville on Senior Night.

Covenant gained sole possession of first place in the USA South West Division with the win. 

It was the senior Riggs that ended up converting Covenant's best chance to score. After Parker Owen was fouled in the box in the 77th minute, Riggs stepped up and capitalized on the opportunity by getting his penalty shot past Maryville keeper Mykal Manfred for the goal.

The score was Riggs' fourth of the year and his third penalty kick.

Covenant then held off Maryville (9-5, 7-2 USA South) over the final 13 minutes. The northern Scots had two shots over the final 10 minutes, including an attempt from Aaron Rucker in the 84th minute that was saved by Lemay. 

Lemay finished with seven saves on the night as he recorded his sixth shutout of the year. It was the seventh shutout for Covenant overall.

HIGHLIGHTS

Facing an N.C. Wesleyan team that was undefeated in USA South play, Covenant scored three times in the second half to pull away for a 4-1 win over the Battling Bishops on Sept. 27.

MILESTONES

  • Covenant's 65 goals this season are tied for the 10th-most in program history, and the most in a season since 2002 (69). The Scots' 15 goals allowed were the fewest in a year since 1992 and ranks fifth in program history.
  • Josh Brower's 13 assists were the most for a Scot in a season since 2004, while Brower's 37 total points ranked second during that span. Brower wrapped up his career with 79 career points (25 goals, 29 assists), which ranks second all-time since 2004, and his career assist total is tops among all Scots over the last 16 seasons.
  • Paul Lemay's goals against average of 0.62 was the best for a Covenant keeper since 2004 and Lemay's career 0.98 goals against average is the best mark during that same time frame. Lemay collected 30 wins and 15 shutouts in his career.
  • Covenant was one of seven Division III men's soccer teams to finish conference play undefeated with zero ties this season. 

TOP PERFORMERS

Goals:
Mercer Stout - 14... third in USA South (seven game-winning goals)
Josh Brower - 12
Parker Owen - 8
Jake Major - 8

Assists:
Josh Brower - 13... 10th in Division III and led the USA South
Jesse Riggs - 8
Aaron Riggs - 5

Points:
Josh Brower - 37... tied for lead in USA South
Mercer Stout - 31
Jesse Riggs - 20

Goalkeeping:
Paul Lemay - 15-1-2, 61 saves (.847 save percentage, led USA South), 0.62 goals against average (led USA South), eight shutouts (tied for lead in USA South)

AWARD WINNERS

United Soccer Coaches All-America
Jesse Riggs - second team

CoSIDA Academic All-America
Paul Lemay - second team

USA South Goalkeeper of the Year
Paul Lemay

USA South Coach of the Year
Scott Bosgraf

All-USA South
Paul Lemay - first team
Josh Brower - first team
Jesse Riggs - first team
Noah Lee - first team
Mercer Stout - first team
Jay Patterson - first team
Parker Owen - second team
Matt Morefield - second team

USA South All-Sportsmanship
Seth Robinson

United Soccer Coaches All-South Atlantic Region
Josh Brower - first team
Jesse Riggs - first team
Noah Lee - second team
Paul Lemay - second team
Mercer Stout - second team

CoSIDA Academic All-District
Paul Lemay
Josh Brower

USA South All-Tournament
Jesse Riggs
Josh Brower
Matt Morefield
Parker Owen

USA South Player of the Week
Mercer Stout - Sept. 2
Jake Major - Oct. 21
Josh Brower - Oct. 28

USA South Defensive Player of the Week
Paul Lemay - Sept. 9, Sept. 30
Noah Lee - Sept. 23

CONNECT WITH THE SCOTS

Be sure to follow the Scots all season long on athletics.covenant.edu and on social media at FacebookTwitter and Instagram for up-to-date scores, news and other information. To receive e-newsletters, click here

Season-in-Review: Men's Soccer
December 20, 2019 Season-in-Review: Men's Soccer