August 28, 2012

Lynchburg Men Picked Third in ODAC Pre-Season Poll

August 28, 2012

WildCats Lead Roanoke by One Point, Earn Seven First Place Votes

 FOREST, Va. --- Randolph College was picked to repeat as men's soccer champions as the WildCats received seven first place votes on the way to 115 total points and the top position in the 2012 ODAC Men's Soccer Preseason Poll.  Randolph is just one point clear of second place Roanoke College, which received the remaining five top nods.  Lynchburg College rounds out the top three with 95 points in the annual coaches' survey (full poll results below).

Randolph enters the 2012 campaign following the school's first men's sports championship in 2011.  The WildCats took down cross-town rival Lynchburg, 2-1, in the ODAC Tournament title game in front a packed house at WildCat Stadium.  Randolph made the most of its first trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament by winning a pair of games before bowing out in the round of 16.  The WildCats topped Christopher Newport, 2-1, in the first round and used three first-half goals to defeat DeSales University, 3-2, to punch a ticket to Redlands University (Calif.) and the sectional round.  Randolph's season came to an end in a 2-1 overtime loss to the University of Texas-Tyler.

Randolph (18-6-0 overall, 6-4-0 in ODAC play in 2011) and reigning ODAC Coach of the Year, Bryan Waggoner, welcome back five all-conference players from the squad that finished 2011 ranked 18th in the country by the NSCAA.  Included in that list of returning players is 2011 ODAC Player of the Year, junior Corey Sindle, who finished atop the league in goals scored (15) and points (35).  He's joined by All-ODAC second team junior defender Will Wolf (4 goals), and a trio of All-ODAC Third Team choices in junior midfielders Jacob Hood (5g, 4 assists) and Nick Cornell (8g, 6a) and sophomore defender Coulton Watson (1g).  Junior goalkeeper Carter Smith (79 saves, 0.98 goals-against-average) is also back for the WildCats.

Roanoke (12-6-1, 7-2-1) goes in search of its ninth conference title with four all-conference performers in tow, including three All-ODAC First Team selections.  Junior forward Brian White (8g) is joined by midfield classmate Patrick Bain (3a) and senior defender Chris Conover (2g, 2a).  Fellow senior A.J. Tierce (3g) joins White on the front line after a third team honor in 2011.

Lynchburg (7-9-4, 3-3-4) looks to rebound from its first sub-.500 record since 2005 with all three of its all-conference athletes back to bolster a program that has won a conference-record 13 men's soccer championships.  Two-time first team goalkeeper, junior Michael Releford (86sv, 0.88gaa), is back between the posts.  He's joined by a pair of third team honorees in junior defender Chaz Ashton (2a) and sophomore forward Luke Moore (3g, 1a), who won the ODAC Rookie of the Year award last season.

Washington and Lee University (8-5-4, 5-2-3) is also armed with three all-conference returners, including first team defender, senior Basti Richter (1g).  He's accompanied by midfield classmate Conor Starr (3g) and junior forward Parker Wolfinger (4g), both second team choices a year ago.

Hampden-Sydney College (9-8-0, 4-6-0) remains a potent opponent for league teams, especially with a pair of first teamers back in the fold.  Senior Nick DeProspero (3g, 5a) controls the middle of the pitch for the Tigers, while senior Curran Blackwell (6g, 1a) spearheads the backline.

Virginia Wesleyan College (7-11-1, 4-6-0), Eastern Mennonite University (10-8-2, 7-2-1), Guilford College (6-9-2, 3-7-0) and Randolph-Macon College (7-7-2, 5-3-2) each feature one all-conference returning athlete.  The Marlins welcome back third team junior midfielder Brian Cornell (3g, 4a).  He'll be joined by sophomore midfielder Blake Eshelman (4g) in the attack.  The Royals' backline is bolstered by the return of first team senior defender Ryan Eshleman.  Junior forward Caleb Golladay (2g, 1a) is also back in Harrisonburg.  The Quakers are led by first team senior forward Freddy Gomez (11g, 1a), who finished second in goals scored and points (23) last season.  He's supported in the attack by a pair of classmates in forward Greg Carnovale (4g, 1a) and midfielder Ronnie Castellanos (3g, 2a).  The Yellow Jackets look to second team defender, junior John Baskerville (1g, 1a), to help control the defensive third.  Junior midfielder Tommy Fisher (2g, 2a) is also back in action.

Bridgewater College (7-11-1, 4-5-1) returns each of its three all-conference selections from a squad that improved by five victories from 2010 to 2011.  Second team midfielder, junior Kevin Gorman (3g, 1a), is joined by the third team duo of senior midfielder Ryan Tavernaris (5g, 1a) and junior defender Zach Malpass (1g, 1a).

Shenandoah University (2-12-2, 0-5-1 in the USA South) moves to the ODAC for its first season as a full-time conference member.  The Hornets will look to senior midfielder John Peterman (3g) and junior goalkeeper James Dutcher (46sv, 2.10gaa) to help lead SU in its new conference home.

Emory & Henry College (4-13-0, 1-9-0) opens its second season under head coach Nathan Kish.  Leading the Wasps will be senior goalkeeper Justin Spencer (59sv, 1.78gaa) and senior midfielder Will Bodfish (2g).

Listed below is the 2012 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 and follow @odacathletics on Twitter.

2012 ODAC MEN'S SOCCER PRESEASON POLL
(#) Denotes First Place Votes

1. Randolph (7)

115 pts.

2. Roanoke (5)

114 pts.

3. Lynchburg

95 pts.

4. Washington and Lee

80 pts.

5. Hampden-Sydney

72 pts.

6. Virginia Wesleyan

71 pts.

7. Eastern Mennonite

67 pts.

8. Guilford

51 pts.

9. Randolph-Macon

49 pts.

10. Bridgewater

45 pts.

11. Shenandoah

17 pts.

12. Emory & Henry

16 pts.