Brevard, N.C. - The 2009 men's soccer team looks to carry the momentum they gained during the 2008 season into this upcoming season. The tail end of the Tornados 2008 season included their first SAC victory in an overtime thriller against one of the top teams in the conference, Lincoln Memorial, as well as a 2-0 shut out victory over North Greenville.
Coach Juan Mascaro enters his third season at the helm and will look to extend the excitement and improvements of last year's young team into this season.
Tusculum College, which shared the South Atlantic Conference men's soccer championship last season, won Food Lion Tournament title and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament, is the choice to win the 2009 SAC championship in a vote of the league coaches, the conference office announced today.
The Pioneers received six first-place votes and 78 total points.
Tusculum also led the way with seven named to the preseason All-Conference team. All-American midfielder Anteneh Lemma, who scored 14 goals and totaled 38 points last season, headlines the first team and is joined by midfielder Lucas Paulini and defender Sven Meyer. Forward Nick Rich, the 2008 Freshman of the Year and goalkeeper Lance Moore, the MVP of the 2008 Food Lion SAC Men's Soccer Tournament and second-team All-American, are joined on the second team by midfielder Scott Lucky, who had a league-best 13 assists last season, and defender Phillip Hagen.
Carson-Newman College, which shared the 2008 conference championship with Tusculum, is the pick to finish second. Carson-Newman received one first-place vote and 70 points.
The Eagles placed five on the preseason All-Conference team, including a league-best four on the first team. Forward Robert Hill, who had 13 goals last season, is joined on the first team by forward Omar Cooke, defender Matthew Finlay and goalkeeper Jordan Moore. Midfielder Everado Flores was named to the second team.
Lincoln Memorial University, which won the 2007 championship, received one first-place vote and is third in the preseason poll with 60 points.
The Railsplitters also are represented on the preseason All-Conference team with five picks. Forward William Moura and midfielder Aaron McKenna are first-team selections, while midfielder Renato Segalla, defender Brito Martins and goalkeeper Michael Watkins are second team picks. Moura led the Railsplitters last season with 17 points, while Segalla had a team-high seven goals.
Wingate University is close behind with 59 total points. Wingate also received one first-place vote.
The Bulldogs have five preseason All-Conference selections. Forward Junior Nyemb, who was fourth in the conference with 33 points last season, is one of three Bulldogs named to the first team. All-American midfielder Luke Mulholland and defender Thomas Poole were also named the first team, while forward Jamie McKenna and defender Jack Vundum were named to the second team.
Lenoir-Rhyne University is the pick for fifth place with 37 points. The Bears will be under the direction of first-year head coach Tom Gott, the former assistant coach and standout player for the Bears.
The Bears placed defender Gary Higgins on the preseason All-Conference first team.
Newberry College received 35 points for sixth place in the preseason poll. Newberry forward Trey Boyd was named to the preseason All-Conference second team.
Mars Hill College was close behind, receiving 34 total points. The Lions had three selections to the preseason All-Conference team, with forward Ernest Sobers, midfielder Rury Caulfield and defender Kenny Wallace named to the second team.
Catawba College is seventh with 21 points. The Catawba Indians will be led by new coach Liam Farrell.
Brevard College rounds out the poll with 11 points.
The 2009 season opens Thursday, Aug. 27 with eight of the nine conference teams in action.
The 2009 Food Lion SAC Men's Soccer Tournament will culminate with the semifinals at the Manchester Meadows soccer stadium in Rock Hill, S.C., Friday, Nov. 6, with the finals on Sunday, Nov. 8.
2009 SAC MEN'S SOCCER COACHES POLL
Pl School Pts.
1. Tusculum (6) 78
2. Carson-Newman (1) 70
3. Lincoln Memorial (1) 60
4. Wingate (1) 59
5. Lenoir-Rhyne 37
6. Newberry 35
7. Mars Hill 34
8. Catawba 21
9. Brevard 11
(First place votes in parenthesis)
2009 MEN'S SOCCER PRESEASON ALL-SAC
Forward - Omar Cooke, Carson-Newman
Forward - Willian Moura, Lincoln Memorial
Forward - Robert Hill, Carson-Newman
Forward - Junior Nyemb, Wingate
Midfielder - Aaron McKenna, Lincoln Memorial
Midfielder - Anteneh Lemma, Tusculum
Midfielder - Lucas Paulini, Tusculum
Midfielder - Luke Mulholland, Wingate
Defender - Sven Meyer, Tusculum
Defender - Matthew Finlay, Carson-Newman
Defender - Thomas Poole, Wingate
Defender - Gary Higgins, Lenoir-Rhyne
Goalkeeper - Jordan Moore, Carson-Newman
Forward - Ernest Sobers, Mars Hill
Forward - Trey Boyd, Newberry
Forward - Jamie McKenna, Wingate
Forward - Nick Rich, Tusculum
Midfielder - Scott Lucky, Tusculum
Midfielder - Everardo Flores, Carson-Newman
Midfielder - Renato Segalla, LMU
Midfielder - Rury Caulfield, Mars Hill
Defender - Brito Martins, LMU
Defender - Phillip Hagen, Tusculum
Defender - Kenny Wallace, Mars Hill
Defender - Jack Vundum, Wingate
Goalkeeper - Michael Watkins, Lincoln Memorial
Goalkeeper - Lance Moore, Tusculum