2019 Men's Soccer Season Preview

2019 Men's Soccer Season Preview
The Oglethorpe men's soccer team returns to the field this weekend, as it looks to defend its SAA regular season title for the fifth consecutive year and continue its streak of 20 straight games without a loss in SAA play.
The Stormy Petrels won 12 straight games during the 2018 season and finished the year on a 13-game unbeaten run after officially earning a draw in the penalty-shootout loss to Centre in the SAA final. They've won every SAA regular season game they've played since Sept. 22, 2017, and haven't lost an SAA regular season game since Oct. 23, 2015. In addition to their streak of SAA regular season titles, the Petrels also have the 2017 SAA championship and a trip to the second round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship under their belt during this four-year stretch. 
The Petrels return five All-SAA performers from the 2018 squad which finished 13-2-1 overall, a perfect 7-0 in SAA play, and came within a penalty shootout of repeating as SAA tournament champions. Seniors Christian Waegelin, Andrew Grodhaus, Bentley Skinner and Gabe Alvarez all earned honors from the conference office, in addition to junior Sebastian Carlson. Defender Waegelin and midfielder Grodhaus both earned All-SAA first-team accolades for their work in 2018, while defender Skinner and forward Alvarez took spots on the All-SAA second team. Defender Carlson bagged All-SAA honorable mention for his efforts in 2018.
That core of returners will be joined by an outstanding class of newcomers as the team looks to make a run for the SAA championship.
The Petrels start the season across town at Emory's Sonny Carter Invitational over Labor Day weekend. On Friday, they'll take on a Claremont-M-S team which came in at No. 19 in D3soccer.com's preseason ranking. After that, they'll return to Emory on Sunday to do battle with Pomona-Pitzer, another team from California, at 4:30 p.m. 
Oglethorpe then goes back across town to take on Emory themselves at 7 p.m. on Sept. 6. After that, they'll return to the Oglethorpe Track and Field for their home opener against Gordon on Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. They'll travel to Virginia to go against Lynchburg (ranked 22nd in the aforementioned ranking) and Washington and Lee (listed as a team of interest) the weekend of Sept. 13 and 15. 
After that series of challenging fixtures away from home, the Petrels return home to take on Anderson (Indiana) and Roanoke at Oglethorpe Track and Field on Sept. 20 and 22, respectively.
They'll then delve into the SAA schedule, as they host Centre Sept. 28 in a rematch of the last two SAA tournament finals. The Petrels hit the road to take on Sewanee the following weekend before hosting Birmingham-Southern and Millsaps Oct. 11 and 13, respectively. A road trip west to take on Rhodes and Hendrix will serve as Oglethorpe's final regular season games away from home, then the team will return home to take on in-state opponent Berry in their regular season finale on Oct. 26.
The SAA tournament will run on consecutive weekends, with the first round being hosted by the top four conference seeds on Nov. 2 and the final two rounds taking place on the field of the highest remaining seed on Nov. 8 and 10.