Friday, November 02, 2007

Bishops soccer aims for tourney excellence

The N.C. Wesleyan men's soccer team is going global.

Oh, sure, the Battling Bishops are scheduled to stick around Rocky Mount all weekend and play the USA South Conference Tournament at Scalf Field, their home pitch. But each of the three conference tourney matches played Friday and Saturday will be broadcast live on the Internet, all around the world.

And for a team filled with international players it is a big deal.

"It's going to be fantastic," coach Jason Kilby said. "I have families from all over the world, all over the United States, who will be able to listen."

N.C. Wesleyan, USA South officials and Future Media will team up to broadcast video and audio for each match live through the N.C. Wesleyan athletics Web site at annex.ncwc.edu/athletics. Which means when the No. 1 seed Bishops (16-0-0, 6-0-0), who are ranked currently No. 2 natioanlly in both the NSCAA and D3Kicks.com polls, play host to No. 4 seed Greensboro at 2:30 p.m. Friday, anybody can watch the match anywhere in the world.

"It's good for our program, for our school, for our recruiting," Kilby said.

The Bishops have always played with an international flair. During recent seasons, Kilby and assistant coach Frankie Taal have crisscrossed the nation and the globe in search of top players.

This season is no different. Among the 25 players listed on the roster for the tourney, 13 were born and raised abroad. That group represents 10 different countries, from England and Germany, to Kenya and Liberia and Sierra Leone, to Iceland.

Add in a dozen other players who were born and raised in Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and the Bishops play like anything but a team nestled in Eastern North Carolina.

"We have some older players this year, some disciplined guys who have been around for a while," Kilby said.

Like midfielder Marco Kirsch, a German who leads the team with 13 goals and 13 assists. And forward Kevin Lue, who was born in the Ivory Coast, played high school soccer in Maryland and has scored 13 goals this season in 14 matches. And midfielder Alimamy Kargbo and defender Danny Jones, who both played high school soccer along the East Coast, and who have scored 10 and nine goals this season, respectively.

And, at last, their families, scattered across the globe, will be able to watch the team play.

"Now," Kilby said, "we just have to go out and play well."

Around campus

If the football team wins each of its last two games this season, it will secure the first Division III playoffs berth during its four-season history. The Battling Bishops (6-2, 5-0) held on for a 42-32 win Saturday at Christopher Newport and are alone in first place in the conference. ... The women's soccer team (5-12-0, 4-5-0) wrapped up its season Tuesday with a 3-0 loss at Greensboro in the conference tournament quarterfinals. Forwards Meredith Hester and Reva McCloud each scored nine goals this season. ... The volleyball team rolled to a 3-0 win Tuesday night over Ferrum in the conference tournament quarterfinals. Brittany Insley finished with 20 kills and Sidney Bens finished with 32 assists. The Bishops (21-13, 11-7) will play Friday in the tourney semifinals at Christopher Newport. ... The women's cross country team finished eighth Saturday at the conference meet. Julianna Richardson finished 38th overall in 31:46 to lead all NCWC runners.

Matt LaWell can be reached at 407-9952 or mlawell@coxnc.com

WHERE: Scalf Field, NCWC

FRIDAY: No. 1 seed N.C. Wesleyan vs. No. 4 Greensboro, 2:30 p.m. No. 2 Christopher Newport vs. No. 3 Methodist, 11:30 a.m.

SATURDAY: Championship match, 2 p.m.

ON THE WEB: Live video broadcasts of all matches at: annex.ncwc.edu/athletics

Bishops soccer aims for tourney excellence