Spartans ranked No. 28 in College Soccer News Preseason Top 30
GREENSBORO, NC – UNC Greensboro is ranked No. 28 in College Soccer News’ Men’s Soccer Preseason Top 30 poll, which was released this past week.
Coming off of a 16-8-1 season and its third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 16, head coach Michael Parker’s squad will be missing some very familiar faces in 2007. Gone are All-Americans Randi Patterson and Scott Jones, both now playing in the Reserve Division of MLS. In all, UNCG lost six players off of that squad, all of which saw significant playing time last season.
In fact, of the six players that recorded 10 or more points last season, only junior forward Thomas Campbell (7g, 2a) returns this season. UNCG will look to junior forward Travis Young, a transfer from Kentucky last year who had eight points (2g, 4a) in his first season as a Spartan last year, to help Campbell provide some offensive punch. Among six returning starters, All-American candidate Jokull Elisabetarson returns to solidify the midfield.
UNCG, which was not ranked entering the NCAA Tournament last year, does return a nucleus on the defensive end. The backfield will be led by a pair of All-American candidates in David Worthen and D.J. McCurry, and sophomore goalkeeper Nate Berry. Berry played more than 2000 minutes in goal during his freshman season, more than any rookie keeper had ever played in the program’s storied history. In a typical roller coaster freshman season, Berry showed flashes of brilliance in recording a goals against average of 1.44 and a .729 save percentage. Worthen and McCurry both have appeared in more than 80 career matches at UNCG.
The Spartans, who swept the Southern Conference regular season and tournament titles last year, will play an interesting schedule this year for having such a young squad. Six of their first eight matches in the regular season will be on the road, beginning with a trip to Harrisburg, VA for a tournament. The Spartans will open the season August 31 at the James Madison Tournament. UNCG will face Georgetown in their opening match, beginning at 5 pm, before facing James Madison two days later.
The following weekend, UNCG will host its annual UNCG Soccer Classic, which will also be the Spartans’ home opener. UNCG will host Dayton on Friday, September 7 beginning at 7:30 pm.
In addition, the Spartans will face Akron, Wake Forest and Creighton at home during their non-conference slate. Akron was 13-5-1 last year, including a 4-0 win over UNCG in late October. However, the Zips were left out of the NCAA Tournament after a semifinal loss to Northern Illinois in the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
Wake Forest and Creighton, however, did make the NCAA Tournament field of 48 last season. The Demon Deacons advanced to the national semifinals, while Creighton suffered an opening round setback at Washington. Wake Forest is ranked No. 4 in the College Soccer News pre-season poll, while Creighton sits at No. 21.
The Spartans will play a pair of difficult exhibition matches in the month of August, taking to the road to face Clemson and facing Winthrop at home. Both of those teams are in the pre-season rankings with Clemson appearing at No. 22 and Winthrop coming in at No. 30. Those matches will be played August 18 and August 26, respectively.
UCLA is rated the pre-season No. 1, returning nine starters from a team that was the national runner-up last season. Duke is ranked No. 2, followed by defending national champion UC Santa Barbara, Wake Forest and Santa Clara. Virginia, SMU, Indiana, Maryland and New Mexico round out the Top 10.
Northwestern, which knocked UNCG out of the NCAA Tournament in the round of 16 last year, is ranked No. 20. West Virginia, which UNCG bounced out of the tournament in the second round last year, is ranked No. 14.
Season tickets and single-match tickets for UNCG men’s and women’s soccer are on sale now. Season tickets may be purchased through the Athletics Ticket Office at Fleming Gym, while single-match tickets may either be purchased at the Athletics Ticket Office or on-line at UNCGSpartans.com. For more information on tickets, call (336) 334-3250.
College Soccer News Preseason Top 30
3. UC Santa Barbara
4. Wake Forest
5. Santa Clara
10. New Mexico
11. Notre Dame
12. St. John’s
14. West Virginia
19. Saint Louis
25. San Diego State
26. Northern Illinois
27. Old Dominion
28. UNC Greensboro
29. Rhode Island
- UNCG -