“This is a special group of players,” East Tennessee State head coach Scott Calabrese declared after his team beat North Florida 3-1 for its second Atlantic Sun Championship in four years.
“They have worked extremely hard from day one and all of their hard work has paid off,” said the Bucs’ head coach. “It’s everything they deserve. They have earned this championship.”
With the conference title, the Bucaneers advanced to NCAA Division I postseason play. Their season would end on the road with a first-round 2-0 loss to Coastal Carolina.
They held the nation’s seven-ranked offense scoreless in the second half, but could not overcome the Canticleers’ two-goal first-half advantage.
Four years ago, the current nine ETSU seniors joined a program in only its third year of existence. They go out with championship bookends, having won conference titles in their first and final seasons, finishing 10-6-4 overall in 2013.
Over that span they complied a record of 45-25-12, making this class the winningest class in program history.
Three of those seniors, MF Itode Fubara (Nigeria), GK Ryan Coulter (Ireland) and David Geno (Kingsport, TN) were named All-South Region. Fubara and Coulter were first team, while Geno was named to the second team.
Fubara, also outstanding in the classroom, was named NSCA Senior College Men’s Scholar All-America.
Coulter leaves ETSU with as the all-time leader for career shutouts with 25. He set team and A-Sun records with 10 shutouts this past season.
“This senior class has really established us as a program and has set us up for future success,” said Calabrese. “Those players gave everything to this program for four years. They have quite a bit to show for it. They will be difficult to replace, both as players and as people.”
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