Posted: Sep 07, 2017
EUREKA, Ill. -- The Eureka College men's soccer team will hit the pitch for the beginning of the 11th season in program history Friday in a 5 p.m. start at NCCAA Faith Baptist Bible in Ankeny, Iowa.
The Red Devils and Eagles will be playing for the second time in men's soccer history and the first time in Ankeny. Eureka and FBBC played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw last September at Traister Field. Michael Hernandez netted the match-tying goal in the 68th minute.
Eureka is 4-6-0 all-time in season-opening contests and will be trying to begin the campaign 1-0-0 for the third conseuctive season after winning the 2015 opener over Lincoln Christian, 5-4, and beating Emmaus Bible 5-2 to begin the 2016 campaign.
Like Eureka, Faith Baptist Bible will be playing its first match of the 2017 season on Friday. The Eagles, who compete in the Midwest Christian Collegiate Conference and the National Christian College Athletic Association, went 7-8-2 last season.
Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary is a private undergraduate and graduate institution. Originally founded in 1921 in Omaha, Neb. as Omaha Baptist Bible College, the school was renamed and moved to Ankeny in 1967.
Fresh off the two most successful seasons in a decade of intercollegiate competition, the Red Devils return two of the top scorers in the history of the program, as well as the winningest goalkeeper in 10 years of Eureka men's soccer.
Senior Brady Thomas and junior James Bowen return to give fourth-year head coach Dwain Barker a talented offensive punch at the top of the EC lineup. Bowen ranks second in program history with 25 goals and 58 points, while Thomas ranks third on Eureka's career list with 20 goals and fourth with 47 points. Senior Michael Hansen and junior Brock Musoiu also return after appearing in all 18 contests last fall. In all, nine Red Devils that played in at least 11 matches in 2016 are back on the 2017 roster.
In goal, junior Daniel Johnson is back after a 2016 campaign in which he logged a 1.76 goals-against average, the lowest in a season by an EC goalkeeper to compile at least 500 minutes in net. Johnson's career goals-against average of 2.45 is the best in program history, and his 14 wins are the most ever by a Eureka goalkeeper.
Last season, the Red Devils went 7-9-2 overall to fall one victory shy of the single-season program record for wins set in 2015. Barker is the winningest coach in program history.
THE MOVE TO McKINZIE
With the completion of the major renovation to Pete FioRito Stadium at McKinzie Field, Eureka's on-campus football facility since 1930, the EC men's and women's soccer programs will play select home matches under the lights on the new FieldTurf in 2017.
The first Eureka men's soccer match scheduled for McKinzie Field is Tuesday, Sept. 20 against Monmouth at 7 p.m. The Red Devils are also tentiavely scheduled to host evening matches at McKinzie Field against Lincoln Christian on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m., Principia on Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. and Iowa Wesleyan on Oct. 24 at 5 p.m.