Trojan Men's Soccer Tabbed to Finish Third in Preseason PollAugust 14, 2012
ROCK HILL, S.C. – After claiming its second consecutive South Atlantic Conference Tournament title in 2011, the Anderson University men’s soccer team has been picked to finish third this season in a vote by the league’s coaches as released Tuesday morning by the conference office.
Four teams were tightly bunched at the top of the poll, with only two points separating first-place Tusculum, which garnered two first-place votes, from the Trojans’ third-place spot, with AU collecting three first-place nods on the ballot. Mars Hill was selected second, with four first-place votes.
Anderson claimed its first regular-season SAC Championship a year ago, with Tusculum and Mars Hill finishing second and third, respectively.
“It just reaffirms that the SAC is one of the top Division II men’s soccer leagues in the country,” said Anderson head coach John Murphy. “We have some excellent teams in the conference. You can see the balance from top to bottom and its going to be very difficult for us to repeat as conference and tournament champion. We do not assume that it will be an easy task. It will take a lot of hard work. We have a lot of respect for the other programs in our conference and we look forward to a very competitive season.”
Seniors Shu Ogawa and Lukas Hesse earned first-team preseason all-conference accolades, while sophomore Tapiwa Munetsi and senior Zak Moss garnered second-team honors.
Ogawa, a 5-foot-7 defensive midfielder, was named Second-Team All-Southeast Region a year ago and ranked third on the team with three assists. He made 14 consecutive starts last season before suffering an injury, while Hesse, a 6-foot-2 goalkeeper, started every match between the pipes last season en route to garnering first-team all-conference accolades and recorded nine shutouts on the season. His save percentage of 0.79 ranked 39th in the country and goals against average (0.996) was in the top two in the league and 43rd in the nation. Hesse posted 79 saves, while playing all but 19 minutes of the season.
Munetsi, a 5-foot-8 sophomore, saw action in 20 matches and started three contests. He was second in a very balanced offensive attack with 15 points on the strength of seven goals and an assist, while also ranking among team leaders with 14 shots on goal. The Anderson native booted two game-winners last season, recording the first goal in a 3-0 shutout past Catawba and also notched the winning score in a 4-2 win over Wingate.
Moss, a 5-foot-6 defender, played in 20 matches and drew a starting nod in 19. He played a pivotal part in AU’s nine shutouts and notched an assist in the Trojans’ 2-0 shutout at Brevard.
“Lukas and Shu certainly had great seasons last year and hopefully they can repeat their efforts,” added Murphy.
Tusculum’s roster features four members of the 2012 preseason All-SAC Team, including a pair of first-team defenders, Matias Rubio and Fredrik Muren. The duo helped TC allow the third-fewest goals per match in the SAC last season.
Just one point behind Tusculum in the preseason poll at No. 2 was Mars Hill. After advancing to the second round of the NCAA Soccer Championship in 2011, the Lions have been ranked No. 17 in the preseason NSCAA national poll, and lead the SAC with six selections to the preseason All-Conference Team.
Among MHC’s All-SAC selections are first-team forwards Stephen Bivens and Felipe Ferraro, midfielder Alex Mullen and goalkeeper Zac Scott.
Scott had the best goals against average of any SAC keeper last season, allowing just 0.65 goals per match.
Lincoln Memorial was fourth in the preseason poll and received one first-place vote. LMU placed four student-athletes on the preseason All-SAC Team – three on the First Team and one on the Second Team – led by the conference’s 2011 Freshman of the Year, forward Mario Pinto.
Pinto finished second in the conference last season in both goals and points.
2011 Food Lion SAC Championship runner-up Lenoir-Rhyne was voted No. 5 in the preseason poll, followed by No. 6 Carson-Newman. Three Eagles players were named to the preseason All-SAC Second Team.
Catawba and Wingate tied for No. 7 in the preseason poll after finishing sixth and eighth in last year’s conference standings, respectively.
Catawba had three players selected to the preseason All-SAC First Team, including forward Carson Smith, who finished second in the league in assists in 2011.
Completing the poll were No. 9 Newberry and No. 10 Brevard. Two Newberry student-athletes earned spots on the preseason All-SAC Second Team.
Anderson opens the regular season on the road at UNC Pembroke in the Braves’ home opener on Saturday, Sept. 1.
Team Points (1st-place votes)
1. Tusculum 69 (2)
2. Mars Hill 68 (4)
3. Anderson 67 (3)
4. Lincoln Memorial 62 (1)
5. Lenoir-Rhyne 44
6. Carson-Newman 40
7. Catawba 37
9. Newberry 16
10. Brevard 10
PRESEASON ALL-SOUTH ATLANTIC CONFERENCE TEAM
Mario Pinto, Lincoln Memorial
Stephen Bivens, Mars Hill
Felipe Ferraro, Mars Hill
Carson Smith, Catawba
Shu Ogawa, Anderson
Chris Nash, Lincoln Memorial
Corey Faughnan, Catawba
Alex Mullen, Mars Hill
Callum Home, Lincoln Memorial
Matias Rubio, Tusculum
Domhnall Minogue, Catawba
Fredrik Muren, Tusculum
Lukas Hesse, Anderson
Zac Scott, Mars Hill
* Two-way tie for first-team goalkeeper; no second team distinction.
All-SAC Second Team
Leonardo Germiniani, Lincoln Memorial
Tapiwa Munetsi, Anderson
Emmanuel Aboaye, Carson-Newman
Kofi Kufuor, Newberry
Roberto Pimentel, Tusculum
Stephen McNeill, Tusculum
Taylor Jolley, Carson-Newman
Adrian Ochoa, Newberry
Evan Preston-Kelly, Carson-Newman
Zak Moss, Anderson
Greg Munn, Mars Hill
Cody Langley, Mars Hill