Men's Soccer Headed to C-USA Tournament

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net

TULSA, Okla.- The Thundering Herd men's soccer team will travel to the University of Tulsa for a Conference USA Championship quarterfinal showdown with the SMU Mustangs at 5:00 p.m. this Wednesday.


The Herd will enter the tournament as the No. 4 seed, having just edged-out its opposition with a superior goal differential in regular season conference play. Both Marshall and the No. 5 seeded Mustangs were 4-3-1 in C-USA matches for the year, and fought to a 1-1 draw back in early October.

Sophomore Anthony Virgara scored the Herd's lone goal in that match, and will be hoping to replicate his earlier success by finding the net yet again. Virgara has three goals this season - all in conference play - and trails only Tom Jackson in goals and points. Jackson has nine goals and 19 points to lead the Herd for the year.

On the other side of the field, goalkeeper Daniel Withrow leads the conference in saves and saves per game, and has played a big part in helping Marshall achieve one of the lowest goals-against averages in the league. He will be hoping to team with senior defender Jordan Hilgefort to deny the Mustangs scoring chances, and the pair will want to limit opportunities like the one presented to Arthur Ivo when he netted SMU's lone goal against the Herd earlier this season.


SMU is 10-6-1 for the season, while Marshall is 8-7-1. The Mustangs hold a 4-2 advantage over the Herd in the all-time series, and were last defeated by Marshall at Sam Hood Field in 2009. The winner of Wednesday's quarterfinal matchup will advance to play No. 1 seed, South Carolina on Friday at 5:00 p.m.


The Herd was most recently in the C-USA Championship during the aforementioned 2009 season, when it advanced all the way to the finals of the tournament only to lose 3-0 to Tulsa in the championship match. That season was the furthest the Herd had progressed in the C-USA under Coach Gray's watch, and he will be hoping this year's tournament sees Marshall return to postseason prominence.


For complete coverage of all the C-USA Men's Soccer Championship action, click here<http://conferenceusa.cstv.com/championships/m-soccer-championship-11.html> to head to C-USA's Tournament Central website. For live stats during the game, please click here<http://conferenceusa.cstv.com/gametracker/launch/gt_msoccer.html?event=1066306&school=c-usa&sport=msoccer&camefrom=&startschool=&>.
Tournament Bracket and Schedule<http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/mars/sports/m-soccer/auto_pdf/2011-12/misc_non_event/2011CUSATourney.pdf>

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