Oct. 9, 2009
HUNTIINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University men's soccer team puts first place on the line this Saturday as the Herd hosts the Southern Methodist University Mustangs in its Conference USA home opener. Kickoff at Sam Hood Field is set for 7 p.m.
"As the season has progressed, this is probably our biggest game thus far," assistant coach Thomas Olivier said.
The Thundering Herd (5-4-1, 2-0-0 C-USA) sits atop the conference standings with Tulsa as the only two teams to take all six points in their first two contests. MU has won both of its games away from Sam Hood Field as the Herd beat Kentucky 1-0 in its first C-USA match, and topped FIU last Saturday, 2-1, in come-from-behind fashion.
The Mustangs arrive in Huntington with a record of 5-4-1 overall and a mark of 1-0-1 in C-USA action. SMU played to a 1-1 draw with UAB on Sept. 25, before blanking Memphis last Sunday 2-0.
"If we could get a win here and go three-for-three in conference, it would make a huge difference with finishing in the top four," Olivier stated. "C-USA has gone from eight teams making the conference tournament to just four, so we want to get as many points as we can early in the conference season."
Saturday's contest will feature two of the top premier goal scorers in C-USA with Marshall's Dustin Dawes and SMU's Dane Saintus. The Mustang striker has tallied a conference-high six goals on the season, while Dawes is just one goal behind with five. However, Dawes leads C-USA with three game-winning goals.
SMU leads the relatively new series with Marshall 3-1. The Herd recorded its first win last year in Dallas by defeating the then-ranked No. 24 Mustangs 1-0.