GAME NOTES: UWF Men’s Soccer Travels to Tampa, Saint Leo

first_img    TAMPA, Fla. –  After a tough first weekend at home, the West Florida men’s soccer team (2-1-1) heads back on the road for a pair of challenging regional games.  On Friday, the Argonauts will face perennial South Region power Tampa, and on Sunday UWF will visit high-powered and No. 8 ranked Saint Leo.  Friday’s match at Tampa kicks off at 7 p.m. ET, and Sunday’s matinee at SLU is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.COMPLETE GAME NOTESNOTES & PROGRAMS PAGESCOUTING THE SPARTANS: UWF’s Friday opponent, the University of Tampa, earned a preseason No. 5 ranking after advancing to the NCAA semifinals in 2008 and the quarterfinals in 2009.  The Spartans (3-2) have suffered two early losses, falling to No. 13 Montevallo 2-1 in overtime in a neutral site game and losing to No. 10 Incarnate Word at home 2-1.  Ryan Griffin leads the team with four goals through the team’s first five games.A LOOK AT THE LIONS: After a tough finish to the 2009 season, Saint Leo has roared to a 4-0 start in 2010 and a No. 8 national ranking.  The Lions have scored five goals in each of their first four games and lead all NCAA Division II schools in total goals (20) and goals per game (5.0).  Edgar Herrera has led the charge on offense, scoring six goals with three assists for a team-high 15 points.  SLU is also ranked No. 1 in the South Region in this week’s NSCAA regional poll.PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: UWF boasted the GSC Player of the Week for the second week in a row as senior Daniel Martini earned the honor on Tuesday.  Martini and previous GSC Player of the Week Matthew Aldred each have two goals and one assist this season to tie for the team lead at five points apiece.IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: Midfielder Frank Cope is off to a productive start to his junior season, as he leads the team with three assists.  Cope’s three assists rank him fourth among all NCAA Division II players entering this week, and he also ranks 11th with 0.75 assists per game.  The Mobile, Ala. native has totaled five assists in his career at West Florida.FIRST CAREER ASSIST: Senior Matt Tanner has played an important role for the team at the center midfield position in his four years at UWF, but it hadn’t shown up in the statistics until last weekend when he was credited with his first career assist.  Tanner barely missed his first career goal, as his booming shot ricocheted off the crossbar and back into play.  Freshman Jimmy Merritt was in position to score on the rebound, giving Tanner an assist and his first career point as well.FIRST GOAL IS KEY: West Florida fell behind in both of last week’s matches, resulting in a loss on Friday and a tie on Sunday.  The Argonauts will look to be the first on the scoreboard this weekend, as the team is 2-0 when scoring first and 0-1-1 when the opponent is the first on the board.MILESTONE WINS FOR ELLIOTT: Bill Elliott is approaching his 200th career win as a men’s soccer head coach, as he currently stands at 195-92-26 (.665) in his 16th season at UWF and 18th overall.  Elliott led Tennessee Wesleyan to a 17-14-1 (.547) record in two seasons before amassing a mark of 178-78-25 (.678) at West Florida.  The Tennessee grad also has 115 wins in his career as a women’s head coach after two years at TWC and nine leading the UWF women.  Combining his marks as both a men’s and women’s coach, Elliott is 310-144-32 (.671) in 27 combined seasons.OVERTIME BATTLES: Two of the Argonauts’ first four matches have gone into overtime so far this season, as UWF pulled away in the 3-2 win over Tennessee Wesleyan and battled Florida Southern to a 2-2 tie.  UWF had two matches go into extra time in 2009, both resulting in a tie.  In the team’s semifinalist run in 2006, the Argos went into overtime five times, winning twice and drawing three times.EXPERIENCED SQUAD: The Argonauts return 10 of 11 starters from a year ago.  Leading the way are four-year seniors Nikola Kljaic and Matt Tanner, both of which have been a part of multiple GSC championship teams.  The roster this year includes seven seniors and nine juniors.  Forward Jimmy Merritt is the lone freshman to have earned a significant role on the team thus far, seeing action in all four games while scoring once and adding one assist.FOUR-PEAT: With their fourth straight GSC title in 2009, the Argos became the first men’s team in school history to complete such a task.  The UWF men’s golf team won three in a row on two separate occasions (2001-03, 2006-08).  On the women’s side, the Argos golf and tennis teams have each won five conference titles in a row; the women’s tennis team accomplished the feat from 1998-02, and the women’s golf team has won the last five in a row (2006-10).PRESEASON ALL-GSC: UWF landed four players on the preseason All-GSC team, including unanimous picks Richard Dixon, Nikola Kljaic and Matt Tanner.  All three of Dixon, Kljaic and Tanner were All-GSC selections last year as well, and Dixon became the second UWF player in program history to be named GSC Player of the Year.  The fourth selection was junior Frank Cope, last year’s GSC Tournament Most Outstanding Player and a breakout candidate in 2010.EYES ON 2011: Brosnaham Park in Pensacola, the site of the 2006 NCAA Division II Championships and numerous GSC tournaments, will play host to the national championships in Division II men’s and women’s soccer again in December 2011.  In 2006, the UWF men’s team advanced to the national semifinals, falling to eventual national champion Dowling on penalty kicks at Brosnaham Park.  UWF also hosted the 2007 national championships in Orange Beach, Ala.KEITH SAVAGE UPDATE: One of the top players in GSC history, UWF grad Keith Savage is currently in his third season of professional soccer.  The Gulf Breeze native was drafted and played for Chivas USA of the MLS in 2008, making three starts and appearing in six games.  In 2009, he was picked up by the Portland Timbers of the USL-1.  After fighting an injury early in the 2010 season, Savage is back on the field, where he has appeared in nine games with seven starts.  The Timbers are in third place in the USL Conference with less than one month left in the regular season.FRESHMAN CONNECTIONS: Of this year’s freshman signing class, Tanner Duttweiler and Jimmy Merritt each have connections with returning members of the team.  Duttweiler, a midfielder from Niceville, is a former teammate of redshirt freshman and defender Jake Pratt.  Meanwhile, Merritt played alongside sophomore and fellow attacker Will Henderson as a club player in Jacksonville.GSC ALL-TIME TEAM: UWF boasted 21 total selections to the GSC All-Time Soccer Team, including eight men’s players, it was announced by the conference office over the summer.  Bill Elliott was named the top coach in the 14-year history of the GSC, and former Argos Nolan Intermoia, Eduardo Oliveira and Keith Savage were first team selections.UWF Selections to GSC All-Time Team:First Team: Nolan Intermoia (2004-08)    First Team: Eduardo Oliveira (2003-06)First Team: Keith Savage (2003-07)    Second Team: Pat Cannon (1998-01)Second Team: Felipe Lawall (2003-06)    Second Team: Jimmy McHenry (2006-07)Honorable Mention: Juan Garcia (2005-07)    Honorable Mention: Jon Stefansson (1998)Print Friendly Version GAME NOTES: UWF Men’s Soccer Travels to Tampa, Saint Leo Sharecenter_img Sean Reynolds has started three of four games for UWF in 2010 (Photo by Melanie Burke) last_img read more