Defending Champions Catholic Are Favored To Repeat In Men's Soccer Poll
MADISON, N.J. – Following arguably the most successful season in program history in which it won its first Landmark Championship, The Catholic University of America men's soccer team is the favorite to once again claim the Landmark crown as voted in the Landmark Preseason Men's Soccer Poll. The head men's soccer coaches and sports information directors at each institution that sponsors the sport were polled for the preseason ballot.
The Cardinals were the clear choice with the voters as the team picked up 89 points to lead the balloting, 11 points clear of the second-place team. The voting was far closer for the next three positions as only nine points separated the second, third and fourth teams in the poll. The United States Merchant Marine Academy sits in second with 78 points, The University of Scranton is just two behind with 76 points and Drew University was seven points shy of it with 69. Each of the top four teams in the poll had at least one first-place vote.
Catholic did lose some key performers to graduation including an All-American forward, but the team brings back two of its three leading goal scorers from a 16-win team. Also returning is first-team All-Conference goalkeeper Quinn Daly, the lone first-team All-Conference player to return this season.
USMMA matched Catholic with an NCAA tournament bid last year after posting a 15-4 record and going 6-1 in Landmark play. Midfielders Lane Gould and Casey Desiderio are both returning after All-Conference seasons last year and will play key roles as the team graduated six seniors.
Scranton earned a berth in the Landmark Championship match for the second time in three seasons and finished the year 12-6-2. The Royals have 17 returning players on the roster and with senior All-Conference forward Michael Drew will be trying to earn their third-straight Landmark postseason berth.
A stingy defense helped Drew finish atop the Landmark regular season standings at 6-1 while allowing the fewest goals in Landmark history. All-Conference defender Curtis Fornarotto and 2008 All-Conference goalkeeper Jeff Rogers are among the returnees for a team that lost 10 seniors to graduation.
The fifth spot in the poll goes to Susquehanna University with 57 points. The Crusaders welcome back a pair of All-Conference players, including leading scorer Jim Robertiello and have a large group of starters back from the team that finished 3-4 in the conference and 7-10-1 overall last season.
The final three spots in the poll were also tight with Moravian College holding the sixth spot with 32 points. The Greyhounds went 2-5 in Landmark play in their first season under Head Coach Todd Ervin and the team has some offensive firepower returning led by leading scorer Taylor Molinaro.
Goucher College has a new coach this season as Bryan Laut takes the reins for the team that was picked seventh with 24 points. A handful of starters return for the Gophers this season after the team posted a 6-11-1 record a year ago. Elijah Lais is the top returning scorer after he produced 12 points a season ago.
Just one point back with 23 points is Juniata College to place eighth in the voting. The Eagles finished with a 7-11 overall record in 2009, a two-win improvement for the team. Goalkeeper Joe Kohler is one of several starters back after ranking third in the Landmark in saves per game last season.
Seven of the eight Landmark teams will open the season with non-conference play on September 1. The first Landmark match takes place September 19 when Juniata hosts USMMA.