Posted: Friday, June 27th 2014 at 10:52am
2014 Piedmont men's soccer schedule released
By staff reports
DEMOREST -- The Piedmont College men's soccer team will experience some new matchups in 2014 as the official schedule was released earlier today by head coach Jimmy Stephens. Coming off a campaign that saw the Lions finish eighth in the USA South regular season, Stephens looks to prepare his 2014 team for another tough league lineup by some early season non-conference challenges this fall.
For the third straight year, the Lions will open the season on the road as they travel north to Ohio for a two-game tourney hosted by Marietta College on opening weekend facing a pair of not-so-familiar foes, though one of the faces on the sidelines will be. Piedmont will face the host Pioneers of Marietta for the first time in the program's NCAA era, but the man leading them will be a familiar coaching foe of Stephens as former long-time Agnes Scott Coach Joe Bergin now guides the ship at Marietta.
Bergin and Stephens faced each other each season when the Piedmont skipper was the coach of the both the Lion and Lady Lion soccer programs more than six seasons ago. Piedmont plays Marietta on Aug. 30 before the Lions turn around to match up with fellow tourney participant Bethany College the following day.
PC's four-game road trip to start 2014 continues when the Lions travel up to Tennessee for a showdown with the University of the South on Sept. 6. The Tigers handed Piedmont a 4-2 loss at Walker Athletic Complex in 2013, but are under new leadership as Tom Pacella takes over following an impressive stint as an assistant at Amherst in which the team won back-to-back NESCAC Regular Season and Tournament Championships posting a 35-1-5 record in two seasons.
The home portion of the 2014 men's soccer schedule then opens up as the Lions play host to Trinity Baptist for a second straight season after taking a 1-0 victory over the Eagles in 2013. PC out shot Trinity Baptist 20-7 in the contest, one of the most lopsided such counts for the Lions in 2013.
Stephens will then lead his team into their third season in the USA South Athletic Conference with the league opener vs. Ferrum College set for 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 19 at Walker Athletic Complex. The Lions stay on their turf at Walker that weekend for their second conference game of the year, a Saturday showdown against William Peace University whose newly founded men's soccer program starts their first campaign in USA South play under coach Zane Hill, a former two-year starter at the University of Virginia in the ACC.
Hill's Pacer squad coming to Demorest for that mid-September contest is one of six conference members coming to Walker Athletic Complex in 2014 though it's the road portion of the schedule in league play that will test a young Lions team this fall. PC travels for a non-conference match against Oglethorpe three days after facing the Pacers, but then must travel north the following weekend for a battle with last year's USA South regular season champ, the Monarchs of Methodist University.
A mid-week match against familiar league member LaGrange College comes up next for PC, the last of three straight road games for Stephens and his Lions. Two non-conference foes, Bob Jones at home on Oct. 6 and Chowan on Oct. 11, then sandwich a road game against North Carolina Wesleyan in a rematch of one of the most exciting games in recent memory at Walker Athletic Complex.
Piedmont fought back in 2013 against the Battling Bishops of NC Wesleyan erasing a 2-0 deficit in a five-minute span in the waning moments courtesy of Vincent Thomas and Stephen Sherfy who found the back of the net to give the home team life. It was then in overtime that the Lions experienced a thrilling end as Justin Whitaker's through ball sprang Thomas loose for a finish that wrapped up a 3-2 come-from-behind victory for PC. (See Thomas' game-winning goal against the Battling Bishops by clicking here, or visit the Piedmont College YouTube Channel).
PC must now visit the Battling Bishops this time around, but that NC Wesleyan contest is one of the last tough road adventures for Piedmont as four of their final five USA South games come in the friendly confines at Walker Athletic Complex. The only road opponent during that stretch is Huntingdon College, a single game over the weekend in mid-October and an opponent that Piedmont defeated 1-0 in 2013 as all six of the Lions' wins last season came by a single-goal margin.
Though the scenery will be friendly, the opponents likely will be a bit tougher on the Lions in that season-ending stretch as Maryville comes to town on Oct. 15 in the next chapter of one of the most storied rivalries in the Piedmont soccer lore. PC and Maryville combined to win all 12 of the Great South Athletic Conference championships handed out in their previous conference affiliation with Piedmont winning five of the first seven while Maryville claimed the final five in a row.
Last year's USA South tourney champ and NCAA representative Greensboro College then makes its visit to Demorest on Oct. 24, the first of two league games that weekend for PC as Averett will be the foe on Oct. 25. Piedmont then wraps up the regular season on Oct. 28 with a 7:30 p.m. game under the lights at Walker against Covenant College in a game that likely would have postseason implications as competition increases with now 11 teams fighting for eight spots in the league's year-end Fall Festival.
PC kicks off action with their afternoon match at tournament host Marietta College on Aug. 30 in Ohio. The Lions will play in front of the hometown fans for the first time in 2014 when Piedmont hosts Trinity Baptist for a 2 p.m. kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 13.
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