Thomasville, NC - The Belmont Abbey men's soccer team has been picked to finish first in the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference according to a vote of the league's head coaches. The Crusaders are coming off a 12-8-1 season overall and an 8-2 CVAC mark before capturing the CVAC Championship Tournament title.
The Crusaders return 21 players from last year's team, including its top five scorers, who combined to score 26 of the Crusaders 36 goals. Senior midfielder Nick Wyatt led the Abbey with ten goals and three assists for 23 points. He was named to the All-CVAC First team and the CVAC Tournament Most Valuable Player along with earning First Team All-Southeast Region honors. Wyatt and junior Luis Arrieta, who was an All-CVAC Second Team member, will look to anchor the Abbey's run at defending their tournament title.
The Queens University of Charlotte men's soccer team will have a new look for the 2006 season. They graduate five starters from the 2005 season, including three All-Americans. Coach Fred Norchi notched his 200th win in his 15th season last year and has led the Royals to three NCAA tournaments (1999, 2002 and 2004), five CVAC Tournament titles, and eight regular season titles. A consistent leader in the conference, last years team claimed the CVAC regular season title with a 9-1 CVAC (14-5 overall) record to extend their regular season dominance by winning six of out the last seven years. The Royals will be led by First Team All-CVAC selection Matt Herbstritt, and last year All-Tournament team members John D. Hannon and Neal Woodworth.
Mount Olive brings back nine starters from a team that surpassed the 10-win mark for the second year in a row (6-3-1 CVAC, 11-6-2 overall) to take the third spot in the annual preseason poll. After winning the CVAC championship in 2004, the Trojans spent six consecutive weeks in the Adidas/NSCAA Division II Men's Soccer Top 25 in 2005, placing as high as No. 7. Mount Olive will look to use their experience this year to excel as six Trojans have earned All-CVAC honors during their career, including junior goalkeeper and two-time honoree Chris Roush and a quintet of seniors: midfielders Chris Jasso, Erik Small and Charles Williams, and defenders Michael Garrett and Brandon Mills.
Pfeiffer finished fourth in the poll with Anderson fifth followed by Lees-McRae, St. Andrews, Barton, Limestone, Erskine, and Coker respectively rounding-out the poll standings.
CVAC Men's Soccer Preseason Poll (# of First Place Votes in Parenthesis)
1. Belmont Abbey (5) 93
2. Queens (4) 91
3. Mount Olive (1) 79
4. Pfeiffer (1) 72
5. Anderson 69
6. Lees-McRae 55
7. St. Andrews 45
8. Barton 33
9. Limestone 32
10. Erskine 24
11. Coker 12