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Busy weekend set at ETSU

Joe Avento • Updated Nov 12, 2015 at 6:48 PM

A busy stretch for the East Tennessee State University athletic department begins today.

•The men's soccer team plays host to UNC Greensboro in a Southern Conference tournament semifinal game today at 3:30 p.m. at Summers-Taylor Stadium.

• The women's basketball team opens the season tonight with a 7 o’clock home game against North Carolina-Asheville.

• The men's and women's cross country teams are in the NCAA South Regional today in Birmingham, Alabama.

• The volleyball team begins its final homestand today with a 2 p.m. match against Chattanooga at Brooks Gym.

• The men’s basketball team opens the Steve Forbes era with a home game against Averett University on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Freedom Hall.

• The football team plays its final road game on Saturday, against Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs, North Carolina.

All of this excitement comes a few days before the ground-breaking ceremony for the school's new football stadium. That event is scheduled for Monday at 1 p.m.

Women's basketball

Brittney Ezell begins her third season as the Bucs' coach when UNC-Asheville comes to Brooks Gym for the season opener. Her team is coming off a 21-12 season, one which ended with a home Women's NIT game against North Carolina State.

ETSU will count heavily on a backcourt with two preseason All-SoCon players, junior Shamauria Bridges and sophomore Tianna Tarter. Bridges led ETSU last season at 12.5 points per game.

The Bucs beat the Bulldogs, 81-68, last season in Asheville. Tarter had 21 points in her first collegiate game.

ETSU, which leads the all-time series with UNC-Asheville, 17-1, travels to Wake Forest for a Sunday afternoon game.

Men’s basketball

Steve Forbes takes over for Murry Bartow and it all starts for real on Saturday. With an overhauled roster, the Bucs have generated quite a bit of preseason excitement.

Averett, an NCAA Division III school in Martinsville, Virginia, was chosen as the favorite in the USA South Athletic Conference.

Upcoming games for the Bucs include Tuesday’s 6 a.m. home game against Wisconsin-Green Bay, Friday’s game at Villanova and Sunday’s game at Georgia Tech. The early morning game is part of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.

Men's soccer

A 5-0 victory over Wofford in the SoCon tournament's first round put the Bucs into the semis, which was good for the school and the league since it's the site the tournament.

Now the Bucs get top-seeded Greensboro. The teams played to two 1-1 ties this season. In fact, their last four meetings have gone into overtime, including last year's SoCon quarterfinals, won by the Spartans.

Greensboro's Jacques Francois was the SoCon's player of the year this season.

Furman and Mercer will play in the other semifinal, today at 6 p.m. The semifinal winners will play for the championship Sunday at 1 p.m., also at Summers-Taylor Stadium.

Fletcher Ekern scored two goals for the Bucs in the first round.

Cross country

The South Regional is being held at the University of Alabama.

The field will feature 36 teams. ETSU is one of four SoCon teams in the field, along with Mercer, Chattanooga and Samford. Furman is in the Southeast Regional in Virginia.

The women will kick off the action at 9 a.m. The men will follow at 10 a.m.

Junior Simeon Roberts has paced the Bucs in four out of the five meets this season, including at the SoCon Championships where he finished 13th with a time of 25:04.04. James Garst was the SoCon's freshman of the year.

The ETSU men are ranked 15th in the South Region.

Volleyball

The ETSU volleyball team closes its home schedule with two matches, today against Chattanooga and Saturday against Samford. Both are scheduled for 2 p.m. at Brooks Gym.

The Bucs, who won two matches last week, have an overall record of 18-9. They're 9-5 in the SoCon.

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