LC Favored Atop ODAC Men’s Soccer Poll
Top Four Teams Receive First Place Consideration
FOREST, Va. --- For the third time in as many
seasons, four teams received first place consideration in the ODAC
Men’s Soccer Preseason Poll. Lynchburg College, winner
of the past two ODAC titles, sits atop the list after earning five
first place nods towards 94 poll points. Virginia Wesleyan
College is second with 87 tallies and two top votes, just two
points clear of Roanoke College, which also received a first place
vote. Hampden-Sydney College collected the three remaining
first place votes on the way to 76 points.
The Hornets’ 2010 season fell nothing short of exciting as they advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament title game against #3 Messiah College. LC was less than five minutes away from the first-ever team championship in school history, but Messiah rallied late for a 2-1 overtime victory.
The Hornets ended their dramatic season with a 20-5-1 record. The unranked LC squad won the ODAC crown and started the NCAA tournament at home with a 3-1 victory over Transylvania University (KY). The Hornets traveled to 12th-ranked Emory University (GA) and scored a 2-1 come-from-behind victory in the second round, the farthest the LC men's soccer team had ever advanced.
A trip to Columbus, Ohio seemed daunting when the Hornets were faced with the two top teams in Division III, but 2-0 victories over #1 Trinity and #2 Ohio Wesleyan propelled LC into the national semifinal. Trailing 1-0 late in the game against sixth-ranked Bowdoin College (ME), the Hornets scored with two minutes left to tie the game and won the contest, 2-1, in overtime to reach the finals against Messiah.
Lynchburg (20-5-1 overall, 9-1 ODAC) is ranked second in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Preseason Poll and will once again be under the direction of 2010 Division III Men’s Soccer National Coach of the Year, Chris Yeager. Yeager, entering his 10th season, welcomes back only one of six all-conference performers from last season. All-ODAC First Team pick, goalkeeper Michael Releford, recorded a 0.64 goals against average and a .875 save percentage. He was also named Most Valuable Defensive Player of the NCAA tournament. Tyler Romano helped direct a backline that only allowed 19 goals in 26 games a year ago. The Hornets’ offense was just as dangerous in scoring 55 goals, first in the conference, but must replace its top six scorers from 2010. Kyle Symczak (3g, 1a) returns to lead the offense.
The strength of Virginia Wesleyan’s (10-5-4, 7-2-1) squad begins with returning the top three goal scorers. John McKenzie, a first team pick, returns to the midfield after registering 10 points on three goals and four assists a year ago. Second teamer Josh Christian (5g, 2a) and Jordan Elgin, who was the Marlins’ leading scorer and an honorable mention selection (7g), will add depth up top. Virginia Wesleyan’s defense must look to replace two second team picks. However, goalkeeper Alan Hinton is back to direct the backline. Hinton recorded a 0.94 goals against average and a .828 save percentage in 2010. Looking to aid Hinton in the back is Nick Forno (1g) and Reid Peterson (1a).
Roanoke (13-3-3, 7-1-2) welcomes back midfielder Chris Conover after earning second team accolades and dishing out four assists last season. Jordan Troyer (3g) returns for his senior season, adding extra help in the midfield. Roanoke’s backline will be without the duo of All-American Michael Stark and Cameron Lee, but captain Andrew Howe (1a) and goalkeeper Avery Makel (0.49gaa, 22sv) look to continue the Maroons’ history of strong defensive units.
Hampden-Sydney (8-9-3, 4-4-2) also returns a wealth of talent including two first team selections. Bryan Wharton led the league in scoring with 28 points on 12 goals and four assists, while Nick DeProspero tallied 15 points on three goals and an ODAC-best nine assists. Honorable mention pick Chris Whiteside (6g, 2a) will also be an offensive threat. The Tigers will be without John Robert Plyer between the pipes, but they will look to their backline, including second teamer Curran Blackwell (5g, 1a), to help fill some of the void.
Randolph (10-8-1, 6-3-1) is looking to make its fourth-straight postseason appearance. The WildCats welcome back leading scorer and second team honoree Corey Sindle, who finished the 2010 campaign with 22 points on nine goals and four assists. An honorable mention pick, Nick Cornell also returns after posting 13 points on four goals and five assists. Travis Watson (1g), Nick Reemtsen (2a), and Sam McGarrity (1a) will lead the backline.
Guilford (10-6-3, 6-3-1) has several key components returning for the 2011 season including ODAC Rookie of the Year Richard Page. Page notched three goals and dished out two assists. His play in the midfield along with first teamer Freddy Gomez, who led the Quakers with 21 points on eight goals and five assists, helped pace GC offensively. Guilford finished second in the conference in goals with 40. Second team pick Drew Gunter (1g, 2a) returns to assist in improving GC’s backline.
Both Washington and Lee (8-7-2, 5-5-0) and Randolph-Macon (6-10-1, 3-6-1) look to make return trips to the 2011 ODAC Tournament. Connor Pierce (2g), who collected honorable mention accolades last season, and Jamie Paldino (3g, 1a) return to assist the Generals’ offense. The Yellow Jackets welcome back second teamer Ethan Cornelio, who dished out one helper. Forward and 2010 leading scorer, Mike Urbanik (4g), also returns to Ashland.
Eastern Mennonite (3-14-1, 1-8-1), Bridgewater (2-13-2) and Emory & Henry (1-13-2, 0-9-1) are all looking to make strides towards an ODAC postseason berth. EMU welcomes back both its leading scorers from 2010. Mitchell Leap (4g), a former first team forward (2009), is joined by midfielder Bryce Shank (3g). The Eagles, with new head coach Ryan Bennison at the reins, return their top two scorers in Ryan Morgan (4g) and an honorable mention honoree, Kevin Gorman (2g, 4a). The Wasps leading goal scorer and honorable mention pick, Sebastian Marley (3g), returns to lead the offense under new head coach Nathan Kish.
Listed below is the 2011 ODAC Men’s Soccer Preseason Poll. For more information, visit any of the participating schools’ websites, or go to the ODAC’s home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Don’t forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook by clicking HERE. You can also follow the ODAC on Twitter by clicking HERE.
2011 ODAC MEN’S SOCCER PRESEASON POLL
(#) Denotes First Place Votes
|1. Lynchburg (5)||94 pts.|
|2. Virginia Wesleyan (2)||87 pts.|
|3. Roanoke (1)||85 pts.|
|4. Hampden-Sydney (3)||76 pts.|
|5. Randolph||59 pts.|
|6. Guilford||56 pts.|
|7. Washington and Lee||48 pts.|
|8. Randolph-Macon||36 pts.|
|9. Eastern Mennonite||30 pts.|
|10. Bridgewater||21 pts.|
|11. Emory & Henry||13 pts.|