RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande will host NCAA Division I defending national champion Marshall University in a men’s soccer exhibition on Friday, at 10 a.m., at Evan E. Davis Field.
The RedStorm and the Thundering Herd will actually be playing a pair of matches simultaneously, with the “A” game set for Evan E. Davis Field and the “B” contest slated for the adjacent practice field.
The early-morning weekday starting time was set to accommodate Marshall, which will head on to Chapel Hill, N.C. after the exhibition to prepare for another pre-season contest at the University of North Carolina — whom the Thundering Herd defeated in a national tournament semifinal in May — on Sunday.
Rio Grande returns the bulk of its 2020-21 roster, which finished 14-5 and ranked No. 24 nationally following a 2-1 loss to eventual national champion Missouri Valley College as part of the NAIA National Championship Tournament in April.
Leading the returnees are senior midfielder Ewan McLauchlan and sophomore forward Sebastian Borquez, both of whom were named to the 2020 NAIA Men’s Soccer All-America team. McLauchlan, who hails from Aroch, Scotland, was among those named to the third team, while Borquez (Santiago, Chile) was on the honorable mention list.
McLauchlan, a first team All-River States Conference selection, tied for second among team leaders with eight goals, tied for second in assists with six and was third on the squad with 22 points.
Borquez, who was named the RSC’s Player of the Year, led the team in goals (12) and points (30) and tied McLauchlan with six assists.
The RedStorm, who were the preseason No. 1 pick in the River States Conference coaches’ poll released Monday night, also return senior forward Samuel Pedersen (Aldershot, England), junior midfielder Charlie Chechlacz (Leicestershire, England), sophomore defenders Rodrigo Basso (Santiago, Chile) and Diego Montenegro (Santiago, Chile) and senior defender Silas Machado (Sao Paulo, Brazil) — all of whom were second team All-RSC selections last year.
One other notable returnee for veteran Rio Grande head coach Scott Morrissey is junior forward Nicolas Cam Orellana (Santiago, Chile), who missed all but four matches during the 2020-21 campaign after suffering a season-ending knee injury. He was an honorable mention NAIA All-American in 2019 after finishing 10th nationally with 22 goals, 11th nationally in game-winning goals (5) and 14th nationally in total points (48).
Marshall, which finished 13-2-3 after its 1-0 overtime win over Indiana University in the national title tilt, was named the NCAA Division I preseason No. 1 last week in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25. Head coach Chris Grassie’s squad garnered 21 of the possible 25 first-place votes.
The Thundering Herd returns 83 percent of its goal scoring, 83 percent of the assists and 92 percent of the minutes played last season. Only Jamil Roberts, who scored the game-winner against Indiana, is missing from MU’s regular cast of characters.
The Herd’s top three returning scorers are Vitor Dias (6 goals, 7 assists, 19 pts.), Milo Yosef (4 goals, 4 assists, 12 pts.) and Jan-Erik Leinhos (4 goals, 3 assists, 11 pts.).
Dias was named a United Soccer Coaches First Team All-American, while also earning Conference USA Male Co-Athlete of the Year honors among his long list of accolades. Yosef was a second team All-American pick in 2019.
Also back for Marshall is goal keeper Oliver Semmle, who had 26 saves and allowed just seven goals last season. He recorded 11 shutouts during the 2020-21 season.
The exhibition is open to the public and there will be no charge for admission.
Fans are permitted to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets if they’d like to sit on the grass rather than the bleacher seating. Seating is also permitted on the hill behind the bleachers overlooking the field.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.