Maryville College's Johnny Rakhmonberdiev was named the USA South Player of the Week, after the redshirt junior posted 10 total points in a 2-0 week for the Scots.
Rakhmonberdiev – a Sevierville, Tenn., native – notched his first collegiate hat trick against Berea College, as he added an assist over the Mountaineers. The midfielder came back on Saturday against Huntingdon to score three assists and tie the Maryville College record for assists in a match.
"He had a great weekend," Head Coach Pepe Fernandez said. "He started the season, coming back from his ACL, and he just wasn't quite himself. He was still trying to do some of the same things. It's taken him about a month to get comfortable. Now, he looks like he was playing at the level he was when he got hurt – maybe better."
Rakhmonberdiev also had a hand in Sunday's record-breaking performance by Trevor McDonald. McDonald scored the eighth-fastest back-to-back goals in NCAA Division III history, as Rakhmonberdiev assisted the second. McDonald's second goal in just 16 seconds – assisted by Rakhmonberdiev – was the eventual game winner in the USA South bout.
Maryville remains undefeated in conference play this season, as they sit at 5-0. The Scots are 7-2 overall.
In just two games this week, Rakhmonberdiev had more goals and assists than in the first seven of the 2019 campaign.
"I think that's the key," Fernandez said. "He needed to get back into playing. He hadn't really played a competitive match until our first scrimmage this year. We've kind of limited him on starting and playing time early on, and now that he's played his way back in, he looks like he's ready."
Against Berea College, Rakhmonberdiev scored the game-winning goal for Maryville in the seventh minute. The unassisted strike was his 13th career goal and the second of second of his 2019 season.
Rakhmonberdiev secured the brace just 3:01 later, as the junior placed a rocket off the foot of Ryan Clift. The score would remain 2-0 at the half.
Rakhmonberdiev continued his scoring to start off the second half. In the 59th minute, he found Jace Burchfiel for an assist. Burchfiel's goal made the score 3-0, before the Sevierville, Tenn. native made it 4-0 with his hat trick.
Just 3:45 later, Rakhmonberdiev found the unassisted goal, as the Scots went on to win, 5-0. He ranks tied for 13th in the MC record book with seven points against the Mountaineers.
Against Huntingdon on Saturday, Rakhmonberdiev continued his huge week. Just 16 second after McDonald's first goal, the junior assisted him on his second. Rakhmonberdiev found Kai Miettinen, who one-touched it to McDonald in the box. McDonald used a right-footed blast at the penalty area into the lower left of the goal for an early 2-nil lead in the ninth minute.
In the 51st minute, Rakhmonberdiev added his second assist. The goalkeeper deflected the junior's shot, as Chris Fernandez collected it in the scrum. He one-timed it from 10 yards out, making the score 5-0.
Austin Vineyard collected his second goal of the match in the 68th minute, as Rakhmonberdiev assisted. He found the streaking Vineyard between a pair of defenders, as the junior took the shot from the 18-yard line. He placed it in the lower left of the net for a 7-1 lead, before the Scots eventually won, 8-1.
On the season, this 5-foot-10 midfielder has four goals and six assists in nine games played. He has 25 shots – 15 of those finding frame for a .600 shots on goal percentage. He's also struck two game winners.
"He's just so calm on the ball," Fernandez said. "He's got really quick feet, and he's a good decision maker. The combination of those two things gives him time to choose the proper pass or choose the right shot. Plus, he's got one of the best left legs around."
In his two years wearing the Orange and Garnet, Rakhmonberdiev has 15 goals and 11 assists. He's posted 41 points, while holding a .519 shots on goal percentage. The junior has four game-winning goals in his career.
Rakhmonberdiev will look to lead the Scots this week, as they continue their USA South schedule. MC travels to Brevard College on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 7:00 p.m., before taking on LaGrange College at home on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 2:00 p.m.
The Scots will step out of conference play on Sunday, Oct. 6, as they face Centre College at 2:00 p.m.