Eight starters and 17 letterwinners return for head coach Charles Morrow’s squad, including preseason All-Atlantic Sun pick Garret Pettis, 2010 all-freshman selection Kevin Barbar and all-tournament keeper Brent McGee. All three are expected to have a major impact on the Bisons fortunes in 2011.
Six seniors (Pettis, McGee, Ethan Summers, Andrew Chamberlain, Drew Longinotti and Evan McGee) are welcomed back for a final run at an A-Sun championship. Aiding that quest will be a large contingent of experienced sophomores and juniors, led by Barbar, Nick Bibb, Joey Chiappetta and Isaac Pile.
Being welcomed into the fold are 12 incoming freshmen, including all-state performers such as Robbie Johnson (Illinois), Cameron Magoon (Georgia), Max Robinson (Kentucky) and Zandar El-Hindi (New York), who will see their first collegiate action this weekend.
It will be a difficult first test for the Bisons in Birmingham. UAB comes off a 4-0 thumping of Belhaven in their first exhibition match, with four different Blazers finding the back of the net and the Blazers goalies making five saves en route to a shutout.
UAB was a quarterfinalist in last season’s Conference USA Men’s Soccer tournament, and will play host to the 2011 NCAA College Soccer Cup, Dec. 9-11, in nearby Hoover, Ala.
Following this weekend’s match, the Bisons will have another week of training before they kick off the regular season Friday, Aug. 26, with a home match against Georgia State. Admission will be free to the public.