LYNCHBURG, VA — The Randolph College men's soccer team is riding high currently after knocking off then No. 15 Maryville College 1-0 in double overtime Sunday afternoon. The win upped Randolph's seasonal mark to a perfect 7-0, and paved the way for the WildCats to earn their first-ever national ranking. The WildCats are ranked No. 25 by the D3soccer.com poll, while earning the No. 5 spot regionally in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) South Atlantic poll. Randolph is the last school to open Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) play, taking on the two Harrisonburg area schools this week in Bridgewater College (Wed., 7 p.m., home) and Eastern Mennonite University (Sat., 7 p.m., away).
Opponent: Bridgewater College
Site: Lynchburg, VA
Facility: WildCat Stadium
Date: September 21, 2011
Time: 7 p.m.
Opponent: Eastern Mennonite University
Site: Harrisonburg, VA
Facility: EMU Turf Field
Date: September 24, 2011
Time: 7 p.m.
What to Look For
The WildCats will enter ODAC play this week in a different position as they are the lone undefeated team in the league and the only squad ranked in the league. The WildCats in five short seasons have gone from newcomer to league target, so it will be interesting to see how Randolph reacts to the new found attention. Head coach Bryan Waggoner though has done an amazing job of getting the 'Cats ready to play for each game this season, and the squad understands there is more left to be done. A player to watch for the WildCats this week is left back John Adams (Lynchburg, VA/E.C. Glass), who has been playing at an All-ODAC level over the first few weeks of the season.
A Look at the Eagles
The Eagles come to Lynchburg Wednesday afternoon with two straight losses on their ledger. Bridgewater dropped their last game to Randolph-Macon 2-1 after falling to Southern Virginia by the same score. Before that, BC had won three straight including an impressive 2-1 win over the University of Mary Washington. Ryan Tavernaris has a team high two goals for Bridgewater, who has only scored eight goals on the season. BC does have a tendency to foul in the box, surrendering two penalties already this year. Expected starters: Nick Rutten, Zack Malpass, Sawyer Jones, Ryan Tavernaris, Alex Utter, Kevin Gorman, Daniel Visone, Zach Hosler, Michael Moore, GK — Travis Morris.
A Look at the Royals
Eastern Mennonite has bounced back nicely thus far from an injury-plagued 2010 and currently sits at 4-4-1 and 2-0 in the conference. EMU has earned victories in their last two outings, two league wins over Emory & Henry (1-0) and Washington & Lee (2-1, OT). EMU has scored 12 goals on the season, which ties for fourth most in the ODAC, with half coming from Mitchell Leap. Leap has 13 points, second most in the ODAC, and three game-winners which paces the conference. Patrick Fox has played more lately in net, but Andrew Yoder has also seen time between the posts for EMU. Expected starters: Muoka Musau, Caleb Golladay, Matt Blauch, Phillip Yoder, Bryce Shank, Ryan Eshleman, Mitchell Leap, Barkot Akalu, Kevin Chico, Brent Yoder, Jared Ross, GK — Patrick Fox
The high-octane WildCat offense leads the ODAC in goals, assists, points, shots, corner kicks and pretty much any other offensive category. Randolph is eighth in NCAA Division III in goals per game with 3.71 and is fifth in total goals with 26.
Weekly WildCat Honors
The WildCat men's soccer team has registered the last two ODAC Players of the Week, as Nick Cornell (Front Royal, VA/Warren Co.) and Corey Sindle (Gloucester, VA/Gloucester) have been honored. The awards were the third and fourth of all-time for the WildCat men's squad.
Randolph is currently one of only two teams in NCAA Division III that is 7-0, as No. 8 Hobart is also 7-0 on the season. Hobart garnered first-place votes this week, so if the WildCats continue to win, look for them to climb the rankings.
Sophomore Corey Sindle leads the ODAC with 15 points on the season, which is also 23rd in Division III right now and his six goals ranks him 22nd in the country. Corey is only one goal behind all-time Randolph leader and teammate Timmy Songer (Windsor, VA/Windsor) for the career lead.
Tough Nut to Crack
The goalie situation at Randolph has played out well, as all three goalies that have gotten time have performed well. Sunday sophomore Carter Smith (Greensboro, NC/Grimsley) got the start and earned another shutout. The WildCats are 18th in the nation in total goals against average, allowing just .40 goals per game.
First-year backs Coulton Watson (Virginia Beach, VA/Salem) and Connor Ray (Bristow, VA/Brentsville) have really settled in for the WildCats and are playing big time minutes. Watson is as strong pound-for-pound as anyone in the league, while Ray's composure and consistent play has been a spark for Randolph.
Of the team that knocked off No. 15 Maryville College on Sunday afternoon, 11 of the 19 players that got on the field for the WildCats were sophomores. Moreover, seven of the 11 starters were in their second season with Randolph. Good for Randolph in the future, yes. Scary fact for the rest of the ODAC, also yes.
The WildCats continue ODAC play next week with a pair of home games, as Hampden-Sydney College comes to town Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. and Washington & Lee University invades WildCat Stadium Homecoming Saturday, October 1 at 4:30 p.m.