UNCG second in SoCon poll, two named to preseason all-league
SPARTANBURG, SC – UNC Greensboro was picked second behind defending champion Furman in the preseason balloting of the Southern Conference's men's soccer coaches, as was announced Wednesday afternoon.
Two UNCG players were named to the 11-man Preseason All-Southern Conference squad. Forward Nirav Kadam and midfielder Jokull Elisabetarson were selected to the conference's preseason all-league team.
Furman, which finished 2007 with a record of 19-4-0 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, captured six of the eight first-place votes and finished with 47 total points. The Paladins are ranked in several Preseason Top 25 polls to start the season.
UNCG, led by head coach Michael Parker in his 25th season at UNCG and 33rd overall, picked up one first-place vote and 40 points to finish second in the preseason balloting. Parker enters this season just 22 wins shy of 500 in his career. The Spartans finished 2007 with a record of 11-8-2 and posted a 4-3 mark in league play. College of Charleston came in third with 38 points and one first-place vote. The Cougars finished second in the SoCon last season with a 6-1 record in league play.
Elon garnered 34 points to rank fourth in the preseason poll. The Phoenix were the fourth SoCon team to finish 2007 with a winning record (8-7-4) and tied UNCG for third place with a 4-3 mark in conference play. Appalachian State, with 16 newcomers on its roster, tallied 23 points to earn fifth place in the poll.
Georgia Southern edged out Davidson for sixth place with 16 points. The Eagles return 17 letterwinners and nine starters for 2008. Davidson will also return an experienced team, as the Wildcats boast 19 returning letterwinners and seven starters. Wofford closed out the poll with 11 points.
Eight of the 11 players named to the preseason All-Southern Conference Team earned postseason honors in 2007. Elisabetarson (UNC Greensboro), Steven Kinney (Elon), Patrick Murray (Furman), Justin Wyatt (Elon) and Kareem Yearwood (College of Charleston) were all First Team All-SoCon a season ago. Yearwood tied for the league lead in points (29) and goals (13) in 2007, while Murray led the conference in assists (13).
Justin Fojo (College of Charleston), Clint Irwin (Elon) and Wes Knight (College of Charleston) all garnered second team plaudits in 2007. Jon Cox (Georgia Southern), Kadam (UNC Greensboro) and Paul Pessina (Appalachian State) were also named to the Preseason All-Southern Conference Team for 2008.
UNCG, which defeated Duke and Gardner-Webb in its two exhibition matches last week, returns 21 of 24 players from a year ago and welcomes eight newcomers to the squad. The Spartans, who have eight starters back from last year's squad that made it to the SoCon title match, travel to William & Mary to open the season on Saturday night at 7 pm. William & Mary is picked seventh in the CAA's preseason poll. Old Dominion, who UNCG will face at home against on September 7 as part of the UNCG Kickoff Classic, is the CAA's preseason top pick.
2008 Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Furman (6) 47
2. UNC Greensboro (1) 40
3. College of Charleston (1) 38
4. Elon 34
5. Appalachian State 23
6. Georgia Southern 16
7. Davidson 15
8. Wofford 11
2008 Men's Soccer Preseason All-Southern
F Kareem Yearwood, College of Charleston
F Justin Wyatt, Elon
F Nirav Kadam, UNC Greensboro
F Jon Cox, Georgia Southern
MF Patrick Murray, Furman
MF Jokull Elisabetarson, UNC Greensboro
MF Justin Fojo, College of Charleston
D Wes Knight, College of Charleston
D Steven Kinney, Elon
D Paul Pessina, Appalachian State
GK Clint Irwin, Elon
- UNCG -