By MacKenzie Tuttle, Digital Content Supervisor
MOUNT BERRY, Ga. – Four of Berry College’s fall athletic teams will begin Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Conference Championship competition this weekend including both men’s and women’s soccer and cross country programs.
The No. 4-seeded men’s soccer team will host the No. 5 Rhodes College Lynx in an SAA Quarterfinal contest at Bob Pearson Field Saturday at 12:00 p.m. The women’s soccer team, finishing No. 5 in regular season play, will travel to Sewanee, Tenn., to take on No. 4 Sewanee at 3:30 p.m. Finally, the Vikings’ men’s and women’s cross-country teams travel to Atlanta for the SAA Cross Country Championship hosted by Oglethorpe University. The women’s race begins at 10:00 a.m. with the men running at 11:00 a.m.
MEN’S SOCCER: BERRY VS. RHODES OUTLOOK
The Berry College men’s soccer team will open postseason play against the Lynx after posting a 7-7-1 overall record during regular season play, as well as a 3-3-1 conference record. Berry is averaging 1.47 goals per game, tallying 22 times this season. The Vikings are also averaging 13.5 shots per game and allowing only 1.24 goals on average, winning four of their last seven matchups.
Berry’s offense is led by both Steven Moore and Jake Williamson, who have each tallied at least five times this season. Moore, a junior forward, has added six goals and two assists for the Vikings, posting 40 shots, 18 of which have been on goal this year. A sophomore forward, Williamson, has added both five goals and five assists. Williamson also boasts a conference-best 57 shots on the year, 26 of which have been on goal.
Defensively, Berry is led by junior goalkeeper, Carson Oakes. Oakes has played 1169:23 minutes in goal for the Vikings this season, allowing only 14 goals, while adding 39 saves. He boasts a 1.08 goals allowed against average, as well as a .736 save percentage, ranking in the top five in the SAA in both save percentage and goals against.
The Lynx enter the matchup posting a 7-5-2 overall record, as well as a 3-4 conference record. Rhodes is averaging 1.79 goals per game, while holding their opponents to an average of only one. The Lynx are also boasting a 14.9 shots per game average, while posting a .375 shots on goal percentage.
Three lynx have scored at least five goals this season: Davis Neitzschman, William Mitchell and Mark Robinson. Neitzschman leads Rhodes’s offense, scoring six goals this year, while adding an additional 19 shots. Mitchell has tallied five times and assisted seven more times, leading the SAA in assists. Robinson rounds out Rhodes’ offense, scoring five goals and assisting four times for the Lynx this year.
On defense, Patrick Wilkerson leads the Lynx, seeing 1062:09 minutes in goal during regular season play. Wilkerson has allowed only 11 goals this season, ranking in the conference top-five in goals against, save percentage (.725) and goals-against average (0.93).
The Lynx and the Vikings have faced-off one other time this season, with Berry coming out on top 2-1. Both Moore and Williamson tallied in the contest for the Vikings, with Williamson’s 82nd minute goal giving Berry a last-minute edge over the Lynx.
WOMEN’S SOCCER: BERRY VS. SEWANEE OUTLOOK
The Berry College women’s soccer team will head to Sewanee after winning their last two contests and posting 4-8-1 and 3-4 regular season records. The Vikings are averaging 0.85 goals per game, as well as 13.2 shots per game this season, scoring at least one goal in all but one of their matchups this month.
Three Vikings have scored at least two goals for Berry this season: Megan Radosta, Beata Brock and Samantha Schoppy. Radosta leads the team with four goals on the year, adding a team-high 44 shots as well. Brock has tallied twice for Berry this season, finding the back of the net both times in the Vikings’ matchup against Birmingham-Southern earlier this month. Schoppy rounds out Berry’s offense, with two goals on the year as well, finishing regular season competition with 25 shots, 12 of which were on goal.
Defensively, Berry is led by senior goalkeeper Jackie McGivney. McGivney has started and played in all 13 of the Vikings’ games this season, accumulating 1222 minutes in goal this year. She has surrendered 19 goals, allowing an average of 1.40 goals per game, while adding 70 saves and a .787 save percentage this season. McGivney currently ranks in the conference top-five in saves, save percentage and goals-against average.
Sewanee enters the matchup with a 5-8-2 overall record, as well as a 3-3-1 conference record. The Tigers are averaging one goal per game, while allowing 1.68 opponent goals. They are also averaging 7.1 shots per game, adding one win and one tie in the month of October.
Mary Frank leads the Tigers offensively, scoring five times this season, while adding an additional three assists. Frank has posted 20 shots on the season as well, 11 of which have been on goal. Two other Tigers have tallied three times apiece for Sewanee: Elizabeth McKnight and Walker Poe.
Goalkeepers Samantha Bourgeois and Savannah Williams lead the Sewanee offense, splitting time in goal for the Tigers this year. Bourgeois has posted 670:30 minutes in goal for Sewanee, allowing 10 goals, while collecting 35 saves. Williams has seen 683:23 minutes in goal, allowing 14 goals, while adding 32 saves.
The Tigers and the Vikings have also faced off only one other time this season, with the Tigers finishing ahead 1-0. Elizabeth McKnight scored the lone goal of the contest in the 27th minute, while Berry led the game in shots (8-6) and Sewanee led the game in corner kicks (5-1).
CROSS COUNTRY OUTLOOK
Competing in the SAA Cross Country Conference Championships, the Berry College men’s and women’s cross country teams will race at Nash Farms, hosted by Oglethorpe University.
On the men’s side, Rhodes, Centre and Berry are projected to run tight. Berry’s men have been racing close all season and will need spots six and seven to play a crucial role, in order to finish ahead of their opponents. Sophomore captain Parker Roberts is projected to lead the Berry men’s finishers as well.
On the women’s side, the SAA teams also fall in a tight pack. Spots one through three will remain very close, leaving the race to runners four through seven. A strong group of women are set to be in the top 20, making every placement count for the Vikings.
“The conference championship provide us with the perfect challenge that demands our best performance,” head coach Paul Deaton said. “It is the team climax and defining moment of our season. We are ready to race.”
Updates can be found on Twitter at @BerryXCTF.