Miettinen's trio of goals earns USA South Player of the Week mention

Miettinen's trio of goals earns USA South Player of the Week mention

Maryville College's Kai Miettinen was named the USA South Player of the Week, as the senior midfielder rolled up three goals in a 2-0 week for the Scots.

The Knoxville, Tenn., native led Maryville to a shutout week against conference foes, as they defeated Mary Baldwin University and Averett University. He added a game-winner against the Cougars on Sunday.

"He had an excellent weekend," Head Coach Pepe Fernandez said. "We ended up starting him at a little different spot. He'd been playing wide, and we started him central. He wound up responding with three goals, and they were all big goals. He looks really healthy this year, and he's playing like a senior. With his athleticism and his work rate, he's been really difficult to deal with."

Miettinen's offense was key in the Scots success, as he coupled with MC keeper Mykal Manfred who pitched a pair of shutouts in goal. The freshman in goal was tabbed the USA South Rookie of the Week for his efforts.

Following a Jameson Elmore goal in the 43rd minute, Miettinen added an insurance goal against the first-year Fighting Squirrels. He took a one-touch pass from Austin Vinyard, before placing a right-footed attack into the lower right of the net past Mary Baldwin keeper Obdulio Argueta.

The goal marked the senior's first of the 2019 campaign, and the fourth of his two-year career. He led Maryville to a 2-0 victory to open USA South play.

On Sunday afternoon, Miettinen added his second goal of the season and the eventual game-winner over the Cougars. He started the score in the 31st minute, as he dribbled down the left side after a long pass from Jace Burchfiel. He took a contested shot in the box, placing it in the lower right past Averett keeper Colton Dutchess. That gave the Scots a 1-0 lead, eventually going on for a 4-0 shutout.

Just over two minutes later, Miettinen scored the brace. Chris Fernandez used a long throw-in, as it was punched away by the Cougar keeper. Aaron Rucker directed a header deep in the box, as Miettinen pushed it into the lower right of the net. That made the score 2-0 at the 32:47 point, as Burchfiel added a pair of goals in the win, as well.

On the season, Miettinen has three goals. He's posted 15 shots – nine of those on frame – while notching a game-winner.

"He's playing up top now as a forward," Fernandez said. "Adding in that scoring punch for us that we struggled so much to have last year has been really nice."

In his two years as a Scot, the senior has six goals in 25 matches played at midfield. He has two assists and 14 career points, as he's tallied a trio of game-winning goals.

Miettinen will look to lead the Scots further into USA South play, as MC tussles with Pfeiffer University on Friday, Sept. 20. The home match is slated for a 6:30 p.m. first touch.