Ranked Scots proving exceedingly versatile

Tom Webster gives the full effort on a corner kick.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Tom Webster gives the full effort on a corner kick.

Senior Ridge Carter gives chase after winning possession.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Senior Ridge Carter gives chase after winning possession.

Freshman David Lethco is one of nine Scots to tally at least a goal this season.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Freshman David Lethco is one of nine Scots to tally at least a goal this season.

Travis Bolton lines up a big strike during a night match at Maryville.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Travis Bolton lines up a big strike during a night match at Maryville.

Maryville College sophomore Ashley Howarth is on pace to become the first Scot to record back-to-back 20-goal campaigns in her first two seasons.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Maryville College sophomore Ashley Howarth is on pace to become the first Scot to record back-to-back 20-goal campaigns in her first two seasons.

Scots senior Alex Wingo makes a nifty dispossession of a Transylvania forward.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Scots senior Alex Wingo makes a nifty dispossession of a Transylvania forward.

He doesn’t bend it like the other guy, but he’s a Beckham. He even wears No. 23.

Maryville College junior Brian Beckham is also one of nine Scots to tally at least a goal this season for one of the nation’s top-ranked Division III men’s teams.

Maryville (7-2-2) stormed out of the gate to a No. 15 national ranking before a pair of recent losses cooled thing a bit. The Scots currently rank seventh in the South Atlantic Region.

Maryville coach Pepe Fernandez is undeterred by the pair of one-goal defeats. Maryville is a talented deep club. One of the losses came in overtime, the other after a long drive home from Virginia on Saturday night, followed by a match at Maryville on Sunday afternoon.

These Scots are special, and Fernandez wants them to play that way.

“I told them, ‘You guys have put yourselves in a great position to make a run at the NCAA tournament,’” he said. “Now, all we’ve got to do is take care of business.”

Maryville resumes its final season of Great South Athletic Conference play when it hosts LaGrange (Ga.) College in a doubleheader with the Lady Scots on Saturday. The women’s match kicks off at 4 p.m., with the men following at 6.

Seniors Travis Bolton and Jake Holt pace Maryville with four goals apiece on the season. Sophomore Tyler Tinker and freshman Sean Yoder have found the netting three times each. It’s when you factor in goals coming from Tom Webster, David Lethco, Ridge Carter, Hunter Acosta and the aforementioned Beckham the magnitude of just how much Maryville can vary the attack comes full into view.

“They’re fun to watch,” Fernandez said. “They’re so skillful.”

Gone, perhaps, are the days when the Scots relied on a small handful of players to do much of the scoring. Players like former Maryville All-Americans Chris Reid and Jody Tootles and All-South midfielder Paul Wieck drew an awful lot of attention.

“Everybody felt like if you stop those three, you stop Maryville,” Fernandez said.

An offense that can strike from all sides is one thing. The Scots have driven home some electrifying goals this season. It’s at the back, though, where Maryville may be strongest. When Carter, a senior, is back there to aid goal keepers Zach Gutzman (470 minutes in net, one goal allowed) and Ben Munger (587, 5) the penalty area in front of the Maryville goal might as well be a moat.

In the last year of Great South play — all Maryville sports will join football in the USA South Athletic Conference next season — the Lady Scots (6-2-2) are chasing a mark that may never, ever, be equaled. Led by All-South Atlantic Region sophomore striker Ashley Howarth (nine goals), with fellow sophomore Phoebe Leo tallying five times, senior Alex Wingo four, Maryville is riding the crest of a Great South winning streak that is now at 114 consecutive games.

“We’ve got the psychological advantage right now,” Fernandez said, “and we want to keep it.”

Howarth is on pace for back-to-back 20-goal seasons her first two years at Maryville, something no Lady Scot before her has ever done. The Lady Scots ability to keep opponents honest could go a long way in ensuring it happens.

“What we have is the deepest talent we’ve ever had,” Fernandez said. “We will use as many as 23 players in a match. With that many girls, we can really substitute and not have a lot of drop off.”

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