Lee Flames Open Season With Olive Garden Invitational
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Coach Paul Furey and his Lee men's soccer team will jump right into the middle of the fire as they begin their first season in the Gulf South Conference and kickoff provisional play in NCAA Division II.
An old TVAC opponent, King College, will be the Flames' first opponent in the Olive Garden Invitational on the newly-soded Lee Soccer Field on Friday at 7 p.m. The Flames will turn around and host the No.1-ranked team in Saturday at 7 p.m. Lynn University ( Boca Raton, Fla.) won the Division II title last season and finished second in 2011.
Shorter University (Ga.) will face Lynn on Friday at 4:30 and go against King at the same time on Saturday.
"We're excited to get our season started and we're also thrilled that Olive Garden is once again sponsoring our tournament," said Furey, who is beginning his third season as the Lee head coach. "We don't know a whole lot about King but they're a young, enthusiastic group and have a new coach, so we think they'll come out and be ready to play on Friday."
Coach John Miglarese was hired to rebuild the Tornado program after last season's 3-14 record. "We are a very young team with a lot of freshmen, but they are mobile with some quickness," said Miglarese. "We just have to see how our inexperience helps or hurts this club."
Lynn also lost nine starters from last year's (20-2-1) national championship team. However, the Fighting Knight has All-Americans Jack Winter and Jason Sangha returning, plus several reserves from last year's squad saw plenty of game action.
"Defending a national championship is never easy and I think that is especially true having to go through our conference (Sunshine State)," said coach John Rootes, who will be entering his sixth season at the helm. "Our matches in Tennessee will develop team bonding and test our resolve on the road. Our guys will learn early and often that there are no 'off' games."
The Flames will begin play in the GSC one week from Friday when they travel to Jackson, Tenn. and face another GSC newcomer in Union University. "We're anxious to compete in the Gulf South Conference and we're thrilled to be a part of it," said Furey.