Menís Soccer Picked 7th in GNAC Preseason Poll
Portland, Ore.- The University of Sioux Falls men's soccer team, led by second year head coach Paul Bennett, was picked to finish seventh in the 2012 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Preseason Poll, as announced today by the league office.
2012 marks the Cougars first season as a GNAC member. Last year, USF competed as an independent during its NCAA D-II provisional season and prior to that was a member of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (NAIA) from 2000-2010.
Simon Fraser (Burnaby, B.C.), which is newly eligible for the NCAA post-season, enters the season as the conference favorites after winning their second straight GNAC title in 2011.
The Clan (62 pts.) compiled an 18-0-1 record (9-0-1, GNAC) last season en route to the conference crown. SFU received seven of eight first-place votes. SFU also earned a No. 9 ranking in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) pre-season national poll.
Seattle Pacific (57 points) received the remaining first place vote and was picked to finish second. Montana State-Billings checked in at third (44 points), jumping up a spot from last year's fourth place campaign. Western Washington clocked in at fourth (40 pts.) and was followed by St. Martin's (fifth, 29 pts.), Northwest Nazarene (sixth, 28 pts.), USF (seventh, 16 pts.) and the University of Mary (eighth, 12 pts.).
The Cougars return 16 starters from a 2011 team that finished with a 7-9-1 record. USF went 3-1-0 in its final four games to finish with at least seven wins for the eighth consecutive season. Among the returners in 2012 are the senior central midfield tandem of Ryan Keohane and Connor Shefte. Keohane paced the Cougars during his junior campaign with five goals and seven assists for 17 points. Shefte, an Omaha product, recorded seven goals, including two game-winning tallies, and two assists for 16 points.
USF will host an exhibition game against Dordt College on Aug. 22 at 7 p.m., before opening the season at home against William Jewell on Sept. 2 at 3:30 p.m.
The complete poll is listed below.
Great Northwest Coaches Poll 2012
1. Simon Fraser (7) 18-0-1 (9-0-1, 1st) 62
2. Seattle Pacific (1) 14-4-2 (7-2-1, 2nd) 57
3. Montana State Billings 8-8-2 (3-5-2, 4th) 44
4. Western Washington 5-11-1 (3-6-1, 5th) 40
5. Saint Martin's 5-11-2 (4-5-1, 3rd) 29
6. Northwest Nazarene 6-10-1 (1-9-0, 6th) 28
7. Sioux Falls 7-9-1 (None) 16
8. U-Mary 3-11-2 (None) 12
Note: First-place votes in parenthesis.
Points awarded on a 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.