Freshman forward Garret Pettis has scored 10 goals, tying the record set last season by Miguel DaSilva. Pettis, with 10 goals and one assist, and DaSilva with seven goals and seven assists, both have 21 points, a new season record for points. DaSilva set the old mark of 20 last season as a freshman.
“Last year Miguel benefited from teams keying on Ben Page,” said Bisons coach Charles Morrow. “And I think Garret has benefited a little bit from teams keying in on Miguel.”
“When we first saw Garret he reminded us of Ben Page when he was a freshman, only he is bigger than Ben,” said Morrow. “Garret still has a lot of work to do, but he does a lot of things that are beyond his years.”
Morrow knew Pettis could score goals, but he did not think that he could surpass DaSilva so quickly.
“Garret has been a little bit of a surprise for us in the number of goals he has scored,” said Morrow. “I don’t think Garret envisioned himself doing this well. But he works hard. He has some game savvy to him.
“He is a very smart player. Some of the little things he does as a forward are things that normally you have to teach a forward to do over the course of time. He uses his body extremely well. He can play off defenders and put them on his back. He is also a pretty good passer and play maker. With a young player you don’t usually see that combination.”
The Bisons, who received votes this week in the NCSCAA/adidas Regional Rankings, are at home this weekend for the final time with two Atlantic Sun games. They face Stetson Friday night at 7:30. This will be “Senior” Night with defender-midfielder T.J. Williams and midfielder Ricardo Atti being honored. Sunday afternoon at 2:30 Florida Gulf Coast visits.
“Stetson is in a position where they are probably going to get into the tournament,” said Morrow. “Florida Gulf Coast has had some big wins this season. This past weekend they beat North Florida 7-1. Last year we caught them when they were a little bit down. I know they will be looking to change that result.
“Both games are going be highly-competitive. There is going to be a lot on the line for both teams. Every game has tournament and possibly championship implications. We only have one loss in the conference. If we can win out there is a chance we could win the regular title. We are playing every game like it is the championship.”
The Bisons 4-3 win over Mercer last Sunday is the seventh overall of the season, the highest victory total ever in a season for program in the NCAA era. Last season they won six games overall.
The 30 goals so far this season shatters the old mark of 26 set in 2007. Nine different players have scored goals, seven have scored multiple goals.
“That says a lot for the guys we have on this team from top to bottom,” said Morrow. “It says a lot about Miguel and Garret, especially Miguel. Everyone knows about Miguel. Teams have to key on him.
“It is a double-edged sword for a lot of teams. In games where Miguel has been shut down then Garret has had multiple-goal games. And when Garret has been shut down Miguel has scored. But it is not just them. Teams also have to deal with our midfielders and defenders.”
The 28 assists this season also breaks the old market of 23 set in 2005. The Bisons also already have 88 points, besting the old season record of 71 in 2005.
“It doesn’t matter what teams do and how they prepare or who they key on,” said Morrow. “More often than not we are going to score goals which is definitely a good feeling.
“For the past four years every team we have had has set records. Our guys are humble and they are working hard. Every year the goal is to be better than we were the year before. How well we can do this year still remains to be seen.”