RETURN OF MOUNT ST. MARY'S MEN'S SOCCER
The Mount made its historic return to the pitch on Friday night as the program played in its first Division I competition in six seasons. The program was discontinued following the 2012 campaign, but in August of 2016 the University made the announcement it would be reinstating men's soccer at the Mount, with sights set on the 2018 season to begin competition. Friday night's game against Bucknell set a new attendance record at Waldron Family Stadium with a sellout crowd of 1,200 in attendance.
The Mount dropped its season opener at the hands of Bucknell on Friday by a 2-0 final. The Bison capitalized with the match's first goal just past the midway mark of the first half. Off a corner kick, Trevor Wiggins sent a header back across the box, where it deflected off Tyler Peterson's chest and into the back of the net, giving the Bison a 1-0 advantage. Bucknell doubled its lead just over a minute later on an own goal that deflected off a Mount defender, and the team's defensive unit held strong throughout the second half to close out the 2-0 victory. The Mount and Bucknell finished the game even in shots, 9-9, with Jonathan Godette leading the way for the Mount with three shots. Goalie Bobby Edwards made three saves in net in his Mount debut.
The Greyhounds opened the 2018 season with a 3-0 win over Rutgers on Friday night in Baltimore. After a scoreless first half, Jake Dengler erased the stalemate with a header off a corner kick to give Loyola the 1-0 advantage in the 67th minute. Just under six minutes later, Barry Sharifi netted his first of the season to double the Greyhounds lead, and Morgan Lussi iced the match with an insurance goal in the 88th. Loyola outshot Rutgers 13-9 in the contest, and Chase Vosvick made a pair of saves in net to earn the win.
The Mount's matchup at Loyola on Monday marks the 29th all-time meeting between the two schools. Loyola holds a 23-4-1 advantage in the series, including an 11-1-1 mark in Baltimore. The last meeting between the two teams was in 2009, when Loyola pulled out a 3-2 victory on its home turf.
AT THE HELM
Mount St. Mary's Head Coach Bryan Cunningham, who's been tasked with leading the revival of the program, spent 10 seasons as head coach at the University of Central Florida, where he developed one of the nation's elite men's soccer programs. Cunningham led his squad to as high as No. 6 in the national rankings during his tenure, and brought the Knights to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in both 2010 and 2011. Cunningham made previous stops as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Pfeiffer University, along with Appalachian State, South Carolina, and UCF, before taking over the helm at UCF. As a player at Pfeiffer University, Cunningham was a three-time team captain and led the Falcons to a pair of conference championships.
This past Thursday, Cunningham announced that goalkeeper Bobby Edwards and defender Bilal Hassane would serve as team captains for the 2018 campaign. Edwards played last season at Monmouth University, starting 16 games for the Hawks and posting a 1.48 goals against average and a .731 save percentage, to go along with three shutouts. The keeper played for Saint Joseph's University from 2014-16, and finished his career at SJU ranked third all-time in program history in goals against average (1.38) and ninth in shutouts (6). Hassane will look to help anchor the backline for the Mountaineers this season. The junior defender came to the Mount from Frederick Community College, where he appeared in 16 games and made 15 starts for the Cougars last season, registering 10 points on a pair of goals and six assists.
MEN'S SOCCER HISTORY AT THE MOUNT
The Mount men's soccer program began play as a varsity sport in 1953, and the Mountaineers moved to NCAA Division I in 1988-89. The Mount, which became members of the Northeast Conference (NEC) in 1989-90, reached the NEC title game on four occasions (1994, 1996, 1999 and 2008). Prior to moving to Division I, the men's soccer program had 11 All-Americans, including Ken Swomley (1962-64), who earned the honor three times. The Mountaineers won back-to-back state championships in 1981 and 1982, while repeating the feat in 1986 and 1987. The 1987 squad posted a school-record 14 wins, led by two-time All-American goalkeeper, Larry Howley.
The Mount returns home to take on Rutgers on Friday, August 31 at 7 p.m. at Waldron Family Stadium. All home games and conference matches will be streamed live for free on NECFrontRow.com.