The men’s soccer season came to a close on Saturday following a loss to the Maryville Scots, giving Maryville their second USA South Championship in 3 years. Even with the absence of a championship, Covenant put together one of their best seasons in years. With a 14-6-1 record, they had their first 10 or more win season since the 2014 Championship season.
Many questioned how the Scots would fare following the loss of their 2-time USA South All-Sportsmanship recipient and 2-year captain Nate Mackey (‘18). But these doubters were quickly quieted following the Scots 7-0 win versus Tennessee Wesleyan to kick off the season. Covenant went on to grab two more wins, tallying 12 goals in their first 3 games, one in each game coming from Jesse Riggs (‘20). Covenant fell to 1-2 through their next three games, their only win being a 3-0 handling of eventual champions Maryville, aided by a 58th minute goal from Anthony Buzzeo (‘20). Coming into the midseason, Covenant continued to suffer more losses, going 3-3-1 over the next 7 games, netting 14 goals over this stretch. They logged two multiple-goal wins during this stretch, including a 6-2 victory over Berea, with a pair of goals by Buzzeo and one each by freshmen Keegan Weekly (‘22) and Austin Berry (‘22).
Following this, Covenant hit a hot streak, winning 7 in a row and netting 21 goals, with goalkeeper Paul Lemay (‘20) logging 4 shutouts and one goal each in the other 3 wins, aided by 45 minutes of play from freshman keeper Henry Hooks (‘22) during a 5-0 blowout versus Huntingdon. The final two wins in this streak came in the first two rounds of the USA South tournament, handing losses to Piedmont and Greensboro before coming up against eventual champions Maryville in the final.
The Scots season ended with a total of 51 goals. Riggs led the pack with eight, going 5-5 from the penalty spot. 10 Scots came away with multiple-goal seasons, including three freshman—Austin Berry, Keegan Weekly, and Mercer Stout (‘22). Additionally, seven Scots received All-USA South honors. Jesse Riggs received All-USA South 1st team. Christopher Kitchen (‘19) received All-USA South 2nd team. Paul Lemay received All-USA South 2nd team. Carl Simakoff (‘19) received All-USA South 3rd team. Josh Brower (‘20) received All-USA South 3rd team. Parker Owen (‘21) received All-USA South 3rd team, and Jonathan Barrett (‘19) received USA South All-Sportsmanship.
While it may not have ended with a championship, the Scots certainly put together a successful season, one of the best in years. Seniors Jonathan Barrett, Christopher Kitchen, Ethan Pettit, Carl Simakoff, and Josiah McDaniel will be dearly missed. But with strong freshman performances and continuing improvement across the board, Coach Scott Bosgraf (‘89) and his team look poised to follow it up next year with another impressive season.