No. 19 Coastal Carolina Comes to Town for Season Opener

Sargeant

Men's Soccer | 8/24/2017 12:14:00 PM

WHAT: George Mason men's soccer vs. No. 19 Coastal Carolina
WHEN: 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 25
WHERE: George Mason Stadium, Fairfax, Va.
SERIES RECORD: Tied at 1-1
LAST MEETING: Coastal Carolina defeated Mason 3-2 in overtime on Oct. 11, 1992 in Conway, S.C.
2016 RECORDS: George Mason (2-12-2, 0-7-1 Atlantic 10); Coastal Carolina (10-7-3, 3-1-1 Sun Belt)
LIVE VIDEO ($): Click Here
LIVE STATS: Click Here

WHAT: George Mason men's soccer vs. American
WHEN: 7 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 27
WHERE: George Mason Stadium, Fairfax, Va.
SERIES RECORD: Tied at 19-19-5
LAST MEETING: American defeated Mason 2-1 on Aug. 26, 2016 in Washington, D.C.
2016 RECORDS: George Mason (2-12-2, 0-7-1 Atlantic 10); American (11-5-5, 7-1-1 Patriot League)
LIVE VIDEO ($): Click Here
LIVE STATS: Click Here
GAME OF THE WEEK PROMO: Mason students with a valid Mason student ID will receive free novelty ice cream (while supplies last) courtesy of the George Mason Honors College.

FAIRFAX, Va. – Right out of the gate, the George Mason men's soccer team receives a pair of tests as two defending conference champs come to town for opening weekend.

The Patriots begin their 50th season as a program against No. 19 Coastal Carolina at 7 p.m. on Friday at George Mason Stadium. Mason wraps up the weekend at 7 p.m. on Sunday against crosstown foe American for the Game of the Week at George Mason Stadium. Mason students with a valid student ID will receive free ice cream courtesy of the George Mason Honors College. Admission is free to all home games for Masons students with a valid student ID.

Mason last hosted a ranked team when it defeated No. 13 Saint Louis 3-2 on Oct. 12 at George Mason Stadium.

Both Coastal Carolina (Sun Belt) and American (Patriot League) won their respective conference regular-season championships in 2016 and reached their league tournament title games. Coastal Carolina went a step further, claiming the Sun Belt conference tournament championship and securing its seventh straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Chanticleers reached the second round before falling to eventual national champion runner-up Wake Forest.

The Patriots return 21 letterwinners and seven starters from a team that went 2-12-2 in 2016. Forward Tunde Akinlosotu is back for his sophomore campaign after leading the team with three goals and earning Atlantic 10 All-Rookie accolades. Senior forward Henning Dirks also returns after he led the team with four assists and shared the team-high in points (six) with Akinlosotu.

Head coach Greg Andrulis begins his 13th season at the helm. The former MLS Coach of the Year has compiled a 106-85-35 record at Mason since arriving in 2005 after four seasons as head coach of the Columbus Crew of the MLS. Under Andrulis' watch, the Patriots have played in three NCAA Tournaments and won two conference championships.

This preseason, Mason went 1-1-1 in exhibition play. The Patriots picked up a 1-0 victory over VMI on Aug. 13, then rallied twice for a 2-2 draw against Delaware – a NCAA Tournament team in 2016 – three days later before falling 3-1 at Old Dominion last Saturday.

Coastal Carolina returns eight starters from a team that went 10-7-3 and swept the Sun Belt regular season and tournament titles in its first season in the conference. The Chanticleers are led by all-conference forward Frantzdy Pierrot (eight goals, five assists) and all-conference midfielder Martin Melchor (five goals, five assists). Mason is 1-1 all-time against Coastal Carolina as the teams last met in 1992.

American was just a penalty kick away last year from reaching the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles fell 5-4 in a penalty-kick shootout to Colgate in the Patriot League tournament championship game. American won the Patriot League regular season championship after going 7-1-1 in league play.

Overall, the Eagles were 11-5-5 on the season. Sophomore Max Holdsworth leads the way as the team's top returning scorer as he had 12 points (three goals, six assists) in 2016. American is coached by Todd West, a 1988 graduate of Mason who was a four-year starter for the Patriots.

American and Mason are tied all-time with a 19-19-5 record. The Eagles have won the last two meetings over the last two years, including a 2-1 decision in Washington, D.C., to open the season last year.
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