Four Bucs earn preseason SoCon honors

Published 1:06 pm Wednesday, August 16, 2023

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ETSU men’s soccer picked to finish tied for second in SoCon Coaches Poll
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Four Buccaneers earned preseason all-conference honors, while the ETSU men’s soccer team was picked to finish tied for second, as the Southern Conference released its preseason accolades on Tuesday.
ETSU, who had the most preseason all-conference selections, earned 18 points to finish tied for second with Mercer in the coaches poll. The Bears picked up one first-place vote, while reigning regular season and tournament champion UNCG was selected the preseason favorite. The Spartans, who are ranked No. 10 in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason Top 25 Poll, collected five first-place votes for 25 points. Rounding out the poll was Furman (14 points), Wofford (10 points) and VMI (five points).
The four Buccaneers to land a spot on the preseason all-conference team were forwards Kieran Richards (Hamilton, New Zealand) and Tarik Pannholzer (Flensburg, Germany), defender Henrik Guenther (Guetersloh, Germany) and goalkeeper Cole Hunter (Mount Juliet, Tenn.).
Hunter, the reigning SoCon Goalkeeper of the Year, started 14 games last year for the Bucs, posting seven shutouts. The Mount Juliet, Tenn. native led the SoCon in shutouts, goals against average (0.79) and save percentage (.761).
Richards and Pannholzer were a dominant duo last season as they combined for 16 goals, six assists, 38 points and 94 shots en route to guiding the Bucs to an overall record of 8-6-3 and a 3-1-1 mark in SoCon play. The pair of Buccaneers enter the season with 18 career goal each, placing them tied for fifth in program history.
Richards tied the ETSU single-season record for goals scored with 11, while his 25 points were the second-most by a Buccaneer. Richards led the league in shots (57), shots per game (3.35), points, points per game (1.47), goals per game (0.65) and goals.
Pannholzer played in 15 of the 17 games for the Blue & Gold in 2022 where he registered five goals, three assists, 13 points and 37 shots. Three of Pannholzer’s goals went for game-winners, including netting the lone goal in the 1-0 victory over Furman on Oct. 22.
Guenther earned first team all-SoCon honors last year after playing in all 17 matches for the Bucs, logging 1,240 minutes. Guenther started 16 games a year ago and was a key component to the Bucs’ defense that secured seven clean sheets. The Buccaneer defender tallied one assist and posted nine shots. His lone assist came in the 3-0 win over VMI on Sept. 30.
Following a pair of exhibition matches this week, the Bucs open the 2023 season at home against Georgia Southern on Thursday, Aug. 24.

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