Men's Soccer Ties for Second in Skyline Preseason Poll
Lawrenceville, N.J. – Following a season in
which it went 14-6-3 overall and 8-0-1 in Skyline Conference play,
the St. Joseph's College men's soccer team has been selected as the
preseason favorite in a vote of the league’s head coaches.
The potent Golden Eagles, who led the nation in scoring last season
(3.96 goals per game), welcome back their top two scorers as they
take aim at the conference's NCAA bid.
Head coach Gary Smith, entering his 23rd season at St. Joseph's, has one of the top scoring duos in the Skyline Conference in sophomore Stephan Zaech and junior Adam Rogers. Zaech, the 2007 Skyline Conference Rookie of the Year, tied for the conference lead with 23 goals as a freshman. Rogers, also an All-Skyline first-team selection, was fourth in the conference with 20 goals. As a team, the Golden Eagles scored 90 goals in 23 games, including 52 in nine Skyline Conference regular-season games. First team all-conference players David Arthurs (D), Chris Kunzig (M) and Marco Saccoccio (GK) have graduated, but St. Joseph's has an experienced group of players ready to step in.
Rivals Old Westbury and Farmingdale State tied for second in the poll. Old Westbury finished second during the regular-season before knocking off top-seeded St. Joseph's on the road to capture the Skyline Conference title. Like St. Joseph's, Old Westbury returns plenty of firepower on offense. Senior forward John Senatore, a first team All-Skyline selection, recorded 44 points on 19 goals and 6 assists. The Panthers had two impact freshmen last season who will not surprise any opponents this fall. Sophomore midfielder Kimron Annikie was a first team all-conference selection last season after recording a team-leading 11 assists. Sophomore forward Justin Leakey, a second team all-conference pick, was named the Most Valuable Player of the Skyline championship.
Farmingdale State rebounded from a tough start last season to finish 10-10. The Rams lost their first six games against a grueling schedule, but closed the regular-season by going 9-3. Farmingdale lost a tough 3-2 decision to St. Joseph's in the semifinals of the Skyline tournament. Leading scorer Andrew Whilby has departed, but senior Thomas Mueller will return after finishing third on the team in scoring, and will be looked upon for his leadership and smart play in the center midfield position. Junior goalkeeper Patrick Gubbins, a second team all-conference selection, anchors a defense that recorded 10 shutouts last season. The Rams did not allow a goal in any of their 10 wins.
Maritime, picked a close fourth behind Old Westbury and Farmingdale, was one of the most improved teams in the nation last season. The Privateers finished 13-8 a year after going just 3-12-1. Maritime finished second in the conference in scoring at 3.14 goals per game. Senior Mayer Nelson and sophomore Patrick Masango, both All-Skyline selections, scored 23 and 21 goals respectively.
SKYLINE CONFERENCE MEN’S SOCCER
2008 PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL
Place, Team, Points
1. St. Joseph's-L.I. (7) 78
2t. Old Westbury (2) 67
2t. Farmingdale State (1) 67
4. Maritime 64
5. Mount Saint Mary 46
6. Purchase 37
7. Bard 32
8. Mount Saint Vincent 27
9. Polytechnic 20
10. Yeshiva 12
(first-place votes in parentheses)