Men's Soccer Sits Second in ODAC Preseason Poll

Men's Soccer Sits Second in ODAC Preseason Poll
FOREST, Va. --- Four teams earned first place consideration and five picked up 90 or more points in the 2014 ODAC Men's Soccer Preseason Poll, with Virginia Wesleyan College receiving the most of both to sit atop the annual coach's survey.  The Marlins earned eight first place votes towards 115 total points, while Lynchburg College garnered 105 tallies to sit second.  Roanoke College is slotted third with 98 points and two top nods.  Randolph College, with 93 points, and Washington and Lee University, with 91 points, each received one first place vote to round out the top-five.

The 2013 ODAC title game required extra time for the second straight season, with Virginia Wesleyan capturing its 10th overall crown via a 2-1 triumph over Randolph.  The Marlins squared off with Carnegie Mellon University in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.  After knotting the score 1-all in the 64th minute, the Tartans registered a pair of late goals to eliminate VWC, 3-1.

There will be plenty of talent returning to pitches across the ODAC, with 24 all-conference standouts back in action.  Three of those belong to Virginia Wesleyan (16-5-1 overall, 9-2-0 ODAC in 2013) and reigning ODAC Coach of the Year, Chris Mills.  Forwards Isaac Arrington (6 g, 6 ast) and Josh Kemp (7 g, 6 ast) and midfielder Josh McNamara (3 g, 2 ast) each earned All-ODAC Second Team accolades.  Add in the return of forward Travis Walke (5 g, 2 ast) and the Marlins feature four of their top six scorers from a season ago.  Goalkeeper Connor Kirkham (82 sv, 1.17 gaa, .776 sv%) anchors the VWC defense.

Lynchburg (11-6-2, 8-2-1) also boasts three all-league performers, including a pair from the All-ODAC First Team in forward Luke Moore (6 g, 8 ast) and defender Josh Hinkle (1 g, 1 ast).  Midfielder Earl Rimbey (2 ast) earned All-ODAC Third Team recognition.  Attacking players Tim Clancy (6 g, 3 ast) and Brandon Webster (4 g, 1 ast) add more punch to the Hornets' roster.

Roanoke (9-7-2, 5-4-2) enters year two under head coach Ryan Pflugrad with four all-conference players back in Salem.  Midfielders Tyler Carbaugh (4 g, 4 ast) and Garrett Eldridge (1 g, 3 ast) both earned first team laurels, while defender Dyonis Beck (1 ast) picked up second team honors.  Attacking midfielder Marc Dinkel (5 g, 6 ast) was selected to the third team.  Cole Sinclair (37 sv, 1.01 gaa, .755 sv%) is back to mind the Maroons' net.

Randolph (17-2-1, 10-1-0) spent much of last season ranked by the NSCAA, reaching as high as No. 15.  The WildCats have six All-ODAC honorees to replace from last season's squad, including two-time ODAC Player of the Year Corey Sindle.  Two-fourths of Randolph's starting defense are back in second team fullback Blake Heatherly (5 g, 4 ast) and third team center-half Coulton Watson.  Forward Julian Khalili (4 g, 3 ast) is the top returning scorer.  He's joined by fellow frontline-mates Troy Jurney (3 g, 4 ast) and Kyle Unruh (3 g, 2 ast).

A new era is about to begin at Washington and Lee (10-3-5, 7-2-2) as Michael Singleton takes over the reins from Rolf Piranian after the latter retired after 39 seasons guiding the Generals.  Singleton opens his tenure with all five of W&L's all-conference performers back in tow, including two first teamers in forward Zach Colby (13 g, 1 ast) and defender Patrick Barry (1 g).  The defense is further bolstered by the return of second team goalkeeper Albert Civitarese (65 sv, 0.85 gaa, .833 sv%) and third team defender Cary Carabasi.  Midfielder Ben Bayles (2 g, 1 ast) also picked up third team honors.  Al Organ (4 g, 3 ast) returns to the middle of the park after earning the ODAC/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Award in 2013.

Hampden-Sydney College (9-6-3, 6-3-2) has two pieces back from a defense that surrendered just 16 goals in third team defender Davis Carter (3 g, 1 ast) and goalkeeper Cameron McFarlane (94 sv, 0.75 gaa, .879 sv%).  The Tigers offense features forwards Robert Kerby (4 g, 2 ast) and Leo Kowalski (4 g, 1 ast) and midfielder James Lawrence (3 g, 2 ast).

Guilford College (6-9-3, 3-6-2) and Bridgewater College (8-8-3, 5-4-2) are separated by just two points in the preseason poll.  The Quakers will look to second team forward Robert Sandidge (5 g, 2 ast).  He's joined by midfielder Johnny Goffredi (3 g, 1 ast) and forward Christian Torres (3 g, 1 ast) as returning leading scorers.  The Eagles have a pair of second team choices back in midfielder Ben Lewis (8 g, 1 ast) and defender Derek Newsome (1 ast).  Goalkeeper Kevin Morris (77 sv, 1.00 gaa, .846 sv%) also makes his return to BC.

Just one tally separates Eastern Mennonite University (5-13-0, 3-8-0) from Randolph-Macon College (5-9-3, 2-6-3) in the poll.  The Royals are buoyed on defense by first team back Joao Downs (3 g) in addition to goalkeeper Andrew Yoder (78 sv, 2.30 gaa, .667 sv%).  Midfielder Mark Mast (3 g, 4 ast) tied for the team lead in scoring in 2013.  The Yellow Jackets welcome back a pair of third team selections to Ashland in forward Andrew Oakes (5 g, 1 ast) and defender Greg Noordanus.  Defender Sam Bowen (4 g, 2 ast) also makes his return.

Emory & Henry College (2-17-0, 1-10-0) and Shenandoah University (0-18-0, 0-11-0) both look to climb the ODAC ladder in 2014.  The Wasps return forward Pierce Moreland (3 g), midfielder Kenny Sterne (1 g, 3 ast) and goalkeeper Didier Grillett (61 sv, 2.95 gaa, .709 sv%) to lead the way.  The Hornets welcome back leading scorer Eduardo Santiago (2 g, 2 ast) and two-year team captain, midfielder Gerard Talbot-Paul.

The 2014 season begins on August 29 with non-conference competition.  For more information, visit any of the participating schools' websites or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at  Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter.
(#) Denotes first place votes
1. Virginia Wesleyan (8) 115 pts.
2. Lynchburg 105 pts.
3. Roanoke (2) 98 pts.
4. Randolph (1) 93 pts.
5. Washington and Lee (1) 91 pts.
6. Hampden-Sydney 68 pts.
7. Guilford 57 pts.
8. Bridgewater 55 pts.
9. Eastern Mennonite 39 pts.
10. Randolph-Macon 38 pts.
11. Emory & Henry 17 pts.
12. Shenandoah 16 pts.