Saint Leo, Fla. (August 13, 2008) – The Saint Leo University men’s soccer team starts where they ended last year as they were selected fifth in the 2008 Sunshine State Conference Pre-Season Poll; it was announced Wednesday by Conference Commissioner Michael J. Marcil. As a nod to their surprising 2007 season, The University of Tampa was chosen as the preseason favorite to win the 2008 Sunshine State Conference title.

The Lions finished the 2007 campaign with a 9-5-3 overall record, posting a 4-3-1 conference mark which was good enough for a fifth place finish. The nine wins in 2007 was one victory short of Saint Leo’s 2006 finish. Head coach Joel Harrison enters his fifth season at the helm of the program and returns a core group of players with championship experience in addition to nearly a dozen new faces that look to return SLU to the success they saw in 2005, when the program won the University’s first Sunshine State Conference Championship. 

Saint Leo will open its 2008 season at University Field on August 28th as they face Montreat College (NC) in a 7:30 p.m. contest. After facing the University of Indianapolis two days later, the Lions hit the road for the first time as the calendar changes to September when they travel to Pensacola on the fifth and face the University of West Florida at 7:30 p.m.  Sunshine State Conference play begins in the middle of the month as Saint Leo faces arch-rival Tampa at home in a 7:00 p.m. tilt.

Tampa accumulated 32 points, including five first-place nods. The Spartans just edged defending league champion Lynn, which was picked to finish second with 37 points and seven first-place votes. Nova Southeastern was tabbed third, garnering 47 points and four first-place votes.

With 54 points, Rollins was chosen fourth, including a pair of first-place nods, while Barry tallied 94 to place sixth. Eckerd (95), Florida Tech (114), and Florida Southern (117) rounded out the poll.

Voting for the men’s soccer preseason poll was conducted among the league’s head men’s soccer coaches and sports information directors.

Place - Team, Points (1st Place Votes)
1 - Tampa, 32 (5)
2 - Lynn, 37 (7)
3 - Nova Southeastern, 47 (4)
4 - Rollins, 54 (2)
5 - Saint Leo, 58
6 - Barry, 94
7 - Eckerd, 95
8 - Florida Tech, 114
9 - Florida Southern, 117