Gents Soccer to Open Season Against Nationally Ranked Memphis
Friday, September 2, 2005

Dustin Forward

Ben Calderara

Head Coach
Eric Mayo

SHREVEPORT – The Centenary men’s soccer team begins their 2005 season this weekend at the seventh annual Memphis Diadora Tournament in Memphis, Tenn.  The Gents open with a match-up against #27 Memphis on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and face Belmont on Monday at 5 p.m.  This weekend’s competition marks the fourth year of participation in the tournament for Centenary.


Leading the way for the Gents will be former Memphis midfielder Aaron Volanksi and fellow sophomore defender Dustin Forward, who was named to the Memphis Diadora All-Tournament team in 2004.  Also returning is ’04 All-Tournament selection Ben Calderara.


“We definitely expect Aaron to start scoring goals based on his energy and work ethic in the midfield,” Head Coach Eric Mayo said, adding “and he wants to beat Memphis because he played there, of course.”


Mayo has been extremely impressed with the play of Forward in the backfield during the preseason.


“Dustin has been outstanding in back,” said Mayo. “He’ll be the anchor of our defense and a leader from the backfield.  He and Aaron should easily be All-Conference selections this year.”


The match-up against Memphis will be a rematch of the Gents season opener a year ago where the Tigers held on to a 1-0 victory over Centenary.  Mayo believes that a strong showing is possible, despite fielding a very young squad consisting mostly of underclassmen.


“If we can eliminate bad mistakes, like poor clearances in front of the goal,” Mayo said, “we’ll be able to give Memphis a run for their money.  Our freshmen and sophomores just have to play solid and cut down on bad decisions.” 


Although Mayo is focused on the Memphis game, he will also gain a two-fold advantage in scouting the game preceding the Gents match.  Belmont, Centenary’s second opponent, faces Mid-Continent Conference favorite Oral Roberts, a team the Gents will take on twice this season.


“With Belmont, it gives us the probability of going at least .500 over the weekend,” said Mayo, “and anytime you can go .500 on the road, it’s a good thing.”


This weekend’s action is the first of three road tournaments for the Gents to start off the season.  Centenary will then travel to Springfield, Mo., to face Southeast Missouri and Bradley next weekend, and then to Statesboro, Ga., to take on Buffalo and Georgia Southern.