NORFOLK, VA—The ODU Soccer Monarchs (3-2-1) continue its tough road when they open Conference USA play Saturday night on the road against 15th ranked Tulsa (5-1-1) at 8 p.m. ET. This will be the first meeting between the two teams, and will be ODU’s third ranked opponent of the season as two of the league’s top goal scorers will be featured.
The Hurricanes are led by sophomore forward Christian Mata, C-USA’s Rookie of the Year in 2012. Mata is tied with ODU’s Tim Hopkinson and FAU’s Ryan Price in goals scored with six. He also has four assists and 16 total points. Tulsa has five other players with atleast two goals and have outscored their opponents 17-6. Senior goalkeeper Cody Mumma has a 0.66 goals against average, and is assisted by C-USA Defensive Player of the Week, Bradley Bourgeois. In similar opponents, Tulsa lost to Creighton, 2-0, while ODU lost 2-1 in double overtime.
Not only does Saturday’s match-up have two of the C-USA’s leading goal scorers, but three of the league’s six MAC Hermann Trophy Watch list selections are in this match as well. They include ODU’s Gideon Asante and Tulsa’s brother combination of Christian and Omar Mata.
ODU is fresh off a 1-1 double-overtime tie at eighth ranked Maryland Tuesday night. The Monarchs have taken both of their top 10 opponents (Creighton & Maryland) to overtime. Currently three C-USA teams are nationally ranked with Tulsa (15), UAB (14) and New Mexico (25), while Charlotte received votes.
Tim Hopkinson was named C-USA Player of the Week after his three goal performance against VMI last weekend. Senior goalkeeper Sean Stowe has a 1.15 goals against average and came up with a career high six saves against Maryland.
Conference USA men’s soccer coaches have a combined for nearly 200 years of head coaching experience and more than 2,100 wins. Seven league coaches ranked among the top 50 winningest active coaches entering the season. South Carolina’s Mark Berson (455) and Marshall’s Bob Gray (422), ranked second and third respectively. ODU’s Alan Dawson (314) is 13th overall, followed by UAB’s Mike Getman is 19th with 277 wins.
A total of four C-USA teams have been national runner-ups: Charlotte in 2011, FIU in 1996, New Mexico in 2005 and South Carolina in 1993.
The 2013 C-USA Men’s soccer Championship will be in Charlotte, NC, Nov. 13-17 with seven of the 10 teams qualifying for the single-elimination tournament. The top seed will receive a bye.