Maryville College's Austin Vinyard was named the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Player of the week, after the sophomore forward etched his name in the NCAA record books in a 5-0 win over Berea College.
Vinyard recorded his first collegiate hat trick on Saturday afternoon, as the feat became the ninth-fastest hat trick in NCAA Division III history. He posted his trio of goals in just 3:08, which also ranks as the fastest hat trick in Maryville College history.
"We knew when we recruited him, that he had that potential," Head Coach Pepe Fernandez said. "He showed some flashes of it his freshman year, but this year, all of a sudden, he's our leading scorer. He's averaging a goal a game, which is really impressive."
Vinyard recorded goals at 46:27, 48:38 and 49:35 to break a scoreless chess match against Berea.
"It was crazy," Fernandez said. "It was just absolutely crazy. He's pretty electric. We came out, and we'd gone a few halves without scoring. We'd been all over the goal, but we just hadn't been able to slot one in. Sometimes, when one person puts one in, the flood gates open. I've never quite seen it happen like that, but when it did, the whole team felt it. The whole team got him the ball. Like I said the other night, it was a pretty special moment for this team, but also, it was a pretty special moment in Maryville College history."
After a very physical first half, Berea and Maryville went to the break tied at 0-0.
Vinyard would break the silence in the 47th minute. Kai Miettinen drove the right side, finding Vinyard in the middle of the box. He one-touched it to the lower left corner for a 1-0 MC lead.
Just 2:11 later, Vinyard notched his third goal of the season and the second of the match. Vinyard drove into the box down the middle, before pushing a pass to Randy Reichenberger. Reichenberger would one-touch it back to him, as Vinyard posted it into the upper right from 15 yards out.
Just 57 seconds later, the swift-footed sophomore would strike again – this time of his own creation. Vinyard dribbled three times into the box, posting his shot off the crossbar and into the upper right of the net for the hat trick and a 3-0 score.
"We think he has the speed, the skill and the finishing ability to score even more," Fernandez said. "With the injury situation that we've been in, he's gotten his opportunity, and he's taken full advantage of it. He looks like a starting forward for a really top-notch team right now. I think he's finally starting to believe in his potential himself, which was probably his biggest hurdle last year – just believing in himself that he could be a college goal scorer. He's shown that in the first four games."
On the season, Vinyard has four goals in eight shots. The sophomore has six shots on goal for a .750 shots on goal percentage. His goal on Saturday was also his first collegiate game winner.
In 14 career games, Vinyard has four goals and an assist. He has 10 shots with seven of those on frame.
Maryville will look next to a USA South home stand this weekend. The Scots will host Greensboro College on Friday, Sept. 21, before taking on Averett University on Saturday, Sept. 22. First touch for both contests is slated for 4:30 p.m.