Wolves round out in SAC poll for men’s soccer
NEWBERRY — Following a run to last season’s NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Championship national quarterfinal round, Wingate has been voted by the SAC’s head coaches as the favorite to win the 2013 conference title.
Wingate finished 13-6-1 overall and fourth in the conference standings at 5-3-1 last year, earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs defeated Montevallo, Lander and Flagler to win the Southeast Region before falling to Lynn in the national quarterfinals.
Wingate, which earlier this month earned a preseason national ranking of No. 12 by the NSCAA, received eight first-place votes in the preseason poll.
Lincoln Memorial is second in the poll, followed by defending SAC champion Mars Hill at No. 3. LMU received one first place vote, while MHU got three.
Lincoln Memorial finished 2012 at 13-4-1 overall and 6-3 in the SAC, while Mars Hill went 14-3-3 overall and 7-1-1 in the league. The Lions also earned a selection to the NCAA Tournament, where they were eventually eliminated in the Southeast Regional by UNC Pembroke.
No. 4 in the preseason poll is Carson-Newman, while SAC newcomer Coker is No. 5 and Tusculum is No. 6. Carson-Newman finished second in last year’s SAC standings at 5-1-2 and went 8-6-3 overall. Coker, meanwhile, shared the Conference Carolinas title after going 8-1-1 in the conference and 12-4-1 overall, and Tusculum finished 7-8-3 overall and 3-4-2 in the SAC.
Three-time defending Food Lion SAC Tournament champion Anderson is seventh in the preseason poll, followed by No. 8 Queens, No. 9 Catawba and No. 10 Lenoir-Rhyne.
Anderson finished 2012 with an overall record of 6-10-4 and 4-4-1 in the SAC, Queens went 7-11-1 overall and 4-6 in Conference Carolinas, Catawba had an overall record of 9-7-3 and a 3-3-3 SAC mark, and Lenoir-Rhyne finished at 6-7-4 overall and 3-4-2 in the conference.
Newberry at No. 11 and Brevard at No. 12 round out the preseason poll. The Wolves went 4-11-1 overall and 0-8-1 in the SAC last season, while BC finished 2-12-2 overall and 2-7 in the league.
The 2013 SAC Men’s Soccer Preseason All-Conference Team was also revealed on Tuesday, and is headlined by LMU forward and defending SAC Player of the Year Mario Pinto. Pinto – who was also named the Daktronics Southeast Region Player of the Year and an All-American by multiple outlets – led the SAC with 21 goals and 47 points.
Joining Pinto at the forward position are Mars Hill’s Felipe Ferraro, Anderson’s Lars Zimmerman and Catawba’s Corey Faughnan. Zimmerman scored seven goals in 2012 while Ferraro and Faughnan both recorded six. Ferraro and Zimmerman were also selected to the Daktronics All-Southeast Region Team.
The first-team midfield is led by a pair of 2012 All-Region honorees – Mars Hill’s Alex Mullen and Wingate’s Gui Andrade. Mullen – who was also a Daktronics Honorable Mention All-American - ranked second in the SAC last year with 27 points, and Andrade finished with nine points.
Also earning preseason first-team midfield selections are Carson-Newman’s Sindre Welo and Queens’ Thiago Andrade. Welo scored seven goals and tallied three assists last year, while Andrade recorded six goals and three assists.
Making up the first-team defense are Mars Hill’s Gregg Munn, Lenoir-Rhyne’s Tom Holland, LMU’s Callum Home and Wingate’s Victor Tozelli. Carson-Newman’s Rumwald Le Gueval is the first-team keeper after recording four shutouts and posting an .800 save percentage last season.
The 2013 SAC men’s soccer regular season officially begins on Sept. 5 with Newberry, Carson-Newman, LMU, Anderson, Wingate, Lenoir-Rhyne and Queens all playing their season-openers.
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