Sometimes, you have to veer from form for the better good of your program. For HU men's soccer coach Jon Lowery, this is one of those times. Instead of staying home and finding an opponent that might make them feel good about themselves, the Pipers headed to Ohio to open the season this weekend against Hiram and Ohio Wesleyan. HU faces Hiram Friday night at 4:00 p.m. (CDT) in the opening event of the Fred Myers Invitational tournament. Messiah, which has won the last three NCAA Division III titles in a row (and eight of the last 11) is fourth team in the event.
HU fans can follow their team through this link: http://bishops.owu.edu/BishopLive/msoccer/live.html.
On Saturday, the task gets a lot tougher when the Pipers face the host team, appropriately known as the Battling Bishops. OWU went 19-2-2 last year, advancing to the NCAA Division III quarterfinals. That will start at 6:30 p.m. (CDT)
It's a challenge Lowery relishes. "It's an honor to get asked to this tournament," he said. "We're going to see some topnotch soccer played. We had a solid training camp. Now it's time to see what some of these folks can do."
There are eight new faces on the 2011 Pipers. If the preseason scrimmages are any indication, they have helped to make the Pipers a quicker team than in years past. "That was a goal," Lowery said. "I liked what I saw in training camp."
With four sophomores, seven juniors and three seniors, the Pipers have a mix of players who are familiar with the MIAC grind. They should be able to guide the new kids along nicely. The challenge will be to improve the offensive output from 2010. Ibou Wone (Sr., Dakar, Senegal) is the leading returning scorer with four goals. But newcomers like Andrew Rorick (Fy., Mankato, Minn.) and Rochester CC transfer Midhat Mujic (Jr., Bosnia) showed promise in the preseason.
Following this trek to Ohio, HU returns home to Paterson Field for a four-game homestand. The home opener is Saturday, September 10 against Northwestern (MN)at 1:00 p.m.