[EAST TENNESSEE STATE MEN] It didn't take long for East Tennessee State to leave its mark on men's college soccer. The Bucs, the youngest Division I program in the country, won the Atlantic Sun Tournament and qualified for the NCAA Men's Tournament, where they will face College of Charleston in a first-round match on Thursday.
The Bucs (15-5-0) have won eight of their last nine matches en route to the Atlantic Sun title. ETSU captured the A-Sun championship with a 1-0 win over Stetson in the final before 1,162 home fans on a golden goal by Nigerian freshman Itode Fubara.
Sophomore keeper Ronnie Hreha posted his third straight shutout and seventh of the season to set an ETSU single-season record and lower his goals-against average to 0.79.
Fubara was named the tournament MVP, while David Geno, Guilherme Reis, Theo Yang, Aaron Schoenfeld and Hreha were also selected to the all-tournament team.
“I am so proud of this team,” said Coach Scott Calabrese. “They have worked so hard and deserve to be champions. This is kind of a storybook ending for us achieving the goals we had set for ourselves at the beginning of the year.”
Calabrese came from Clemson to start the Bucs program in 2008. In its third season, ETSU broke through thanks to an influx of new talent.
Six first-year players started against Stetson. Hreha is a transfer from Lees-McRae, Irishman Colin Pugh came from JC power Jefferson College, while Guatemalan U-20 Mario Sambiero, Blaike Woodruff, Fubara and Geno are freshmen.
The only other Division I school to add men's soccer as a varsity program in the last decade was Michigan in 2000.