Long earns USA South honors behind Maryville Invitational sweep

Long earns USA South honors behind Maryville Invitational sweep

Maryville College's Nate Long earned USA South Defensive Player of the Week honors this week after a 2-0 performance for the Scots.

Long led the Scots defensively, as the squad claimed the 2017 Maryville College Invitational tournament with a 2-0 win over Eastern Mennonite University and a 2-1 victory over Wilmington College (Ohio).

"It's very deserving," Head Coach Pepe Fernandez said. "We didn't give up a goal until the last minute or two of the second game. I thought he was just fantastic, not only on defense, but on starting our attack out of the back. Through preseason, he's been one of the top players we've seen so far."

Against the talented Royals' squad in a rain-soaked Friday night game, Maryville game up just 11 shots. The defensive efforts of Long and his teammates forced Eastern Mennonite to settle for only four shots on goal in the match, as the Scots earned their first shutout of the 2017 season.

On Saturday, Long's defense shined brighter, as Maryville held the Quakers to only six shots on the day. There were three shots on goal, as only one goal would slip through late in the contest.

Fernandez said having Long leading the defense is a key part to the success of the Scots.

"It makes a big difference," Fernandez said. "Really, right now, he's the only guy in the back four that was a starter for us that is returning. Having him solidify that spot and lead back there, it's really important to us."

The head coach said that winning the Maryville College invitational was a challenge against the competition involved.

"It was good," Fernandez said. "We've done that tournament for years. It's difficult to go 2-0 in a tournament like that. We brought in Wilmington, who was No. 1 in their conference, and a perineal ODAC school – a tough team to beat – in Eastern Mennonite. When you get two wins in a tournament like that, you come out feeling pretty good about your team."

Long, as well as the Scots, look to keep that good feeling alive, as they return home this weekend.

Maryville hosts Pfeiffer University on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 2 p.m.

The Scots then open USA South play on Sunday, Sept. 10, in hopes of repeating as USA South Conference Regular Season and Tournament Champions. First touch on Sunday is set for 1 p.m.