The Greenville College Men's Soccer team is ready to return to the field for their 2012 season, under new leadership and fueled by a strong desire to prove they are still the team to beat.
The Panthers saw great success last year, as they won the SLIAC Conference Tournament and traveled to the NCAA National Tournament in Chicago, Ill. The team fell to powerhouse team Dominican University in the first round, with a score of 4-0. Greenville finished their 2011 season with a record of 13-7-3 (6-2 SLIAC).
The men are under new leadership this year as Bobby McColl was named the new men's head coach, replacing Brian McMahon. McColl was an assistant coach at Roberts Wesleyan University and played at the collegiate and professional levels during his career. McColl is excited to lead the men this season and expects the team to be extremely successful this year.
"The team has really come together very well in a short amount of time and has bought into what the coaching staff is teaching," McColl explains. "We have had some success in the past few years and the standards have not changed...we expect to have a good year and help the guys grow on the field as well as off."
The Panthers will have to replace a large senior class, that included NCCAA All-American, David Dunlop. Dunlop scored 11 GC goals last season and was a member of the SLIAC All-Conference team.
Fortunately, GC has a strong group of returning players who will take the lead. Senior Nathan Mayberry, who was a member of the First Team All-Conference in 2011, is returning as a captain this year and is expected to contribute heavily to the Panther offense. Senior captain Matt Cowman, who was awarded an honorable mention in the SLIAC last year, will also be a driving force for the team. Both men are true leaders and will undoubtedly be prepared to push their team to another SLIAC title this season.
Defensively, Greenville will look to goalkeeper, Thomas Crown, who had a .765 save percentage before a knee injury ended his season early. Crown will be back this season and is ready to play.
"I have worked hard in the off-season and I am more ready than ever to get back on the field," Crown said. "My injury was an obstacle that I had to overcome and I think it has made me a stronger player,and I am excited to see what our team will be able to do this year."
The men travel to Ohio Friday, August 31 to play Defiance College. Upon their return, the Panthers will have a 7-game streak at home. Their Conference play begins September 29 at Spalding University.