Pioneer men's soccer kicks off 2019 practice schedule

Pioneer men's soccer kicks off 2019 practice schedule


GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum University men's soccer team held its first workouts in advance of the 2019 season on Wednesday.

Head coach Allen Vital and his staff conducted two sessions on Wednesday -- a fitness test and half-field scrimmage in the afternoon and a regular training period in the evening. Nearly all of the 34-man roster was active in Wednesday's practices.

"The players are so excited to get out there on the first day, and it's nice to see the returners and the new guys coming in," said Vital, who starts his ninth season as head coach at his alma mater and 23rd overall with 237 career wins. "The first segment of our fitness test was very good, and hopefully that will allow us to move quickly into tactics."

Preseason training will continue with two on-field sessions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. After a team-building activity and photos on Sunday, the Pioneers will be off Monday for the first day of classes.

Tusculum enters the 2019 season looking to defend its third South Atlantic Conference Championship in the last five years. The Pioneers beat Anderson 2-1 in the SAC Championship final, then defeated Queens 3-2 in the first round of the NCAA Division II Tournament for their first NCAA win since 2008.

The Pioneers, who finished 13-7-1 overall and 6-3-1 in the SAC last season, return eight starters from last year's squad. Tusculum opens its 50th season of men's soccer on Wednesday, Sept. 4 when the Pioneers host Milligan at 7 p.m. at Pioneer Field.