HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA - The Hampden-Sydney soccer team opens up ODAC play on Wednesday against Virginia Wesleyan and will close the week at home against Greensboro College on Saturday for Family Weekend.
For information on how to follow each contest live, please visit http://www.hscathletics.com/sports/msoc/2011-12/schedule
After going 0-2 against high caliber competition in the Lynchburg Kick-Off Classic, the Tigers will look to rebound in a big way this week. The key for the Tigers going forward this season will be putting together two strong halves of soccer. While H-SC has played good soccer throughout the season, in each game H-SC has been noticeably better in one half. Against Maryville, Berkeley, and Shenandoah, the Tigers improved tremendously after intermission while the second-half proved to be the downfall for Hampden-Sydney against Mary Washington.
After going down 2-0 against ninth regionally ranked Maryville 19 minutes into the game, H-SC was able to narrow it down to 2-1 before the half. H-SC came out in the second-half and went toe-to-toe with the Scots, looking every bit as good as a Maryville team that has built a dynasty Great South Athletic Conference. If Hampden-Sydney can carry over that strong play into the future, then the Tigers will be a very tough out for ODAC foes.
The Virginia Wesleyan Marlins were picked second in the ODAC Preseason Poll in what proved to be a tight race for the top four spots. Virginia Wesleyan is a perenial contender for the ODAC Championship and a berth into the NCAA Tournament, and this year should prove to be no different with the Marlins being ranked ninth in the South Atlantic region.
The Marlins likewise have a 2-2 record against some tough competition. VWC took down York (PA) 1-0, a team that is consistently ranked in the region and nationally. The Marlins followed the big win with a 2-1 loss against Catholic, who made the NCAA Tournament a season ago, and a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Christopher Newport, a team that is consistently in the NCAA Tournament. The then thumped Marymount 7-1 on Sunday.
John McKenzie has proven to be the Virginia Wesleyan go to offensive threat early in the season, accumulating three goals and two assists for eight points. He scored the game-winning goal against York and tacked on two goals and one helper in the Marymount contest. Brian Cornell and Blake Eshelmann have also contributed two scores.
Greensboro formerly was a high quality South/South Atlantic region opponent but has struggled the past two years, winning just a combined seven contests, including 6-0 and 1-0 losses to the Tigers. The Tigers also beat the Pride 2-1 in 2008.
The Pride started off their season with a 3-1 loss at Mary Washington, a team that beat H-SC 2-1 this past Saturday. Greensboro sandwiched a 1-0 loss to Birmingham Southern in between two ties - 1-1 vs. Marymount and 2-2 vs. Sewanee. Four different players have scored a goal for Greensboro while Logan Paussa has been the lone player to contribute on two scoring plays, tallying two assists.