WINTER PARK, Fla. – The Saint Leo University men's soccer team earned six of the nine first place votes to be selected to repeat as Sunshine State Conference regular-season champions in 2014, announced Wednesday by the league office.
The Lions collected 62 points along with the six first-place votes in a preseason poll conducted among the conference head men's soccer coaches. Rollins received 54 points and earned two first-place votes to be picked second.
The Green and Gold return seven of 11 starters from last season, including three of its four All-SSC First Team honorees from a season ago. Juniors Manuel Schoenhuber and Chris Lavie as well as sophomore Maximilian Schulze-Geisthovel all return. Senior and All-SSC second teamer Melvin Agyei Boateng will also return for the Lions. Reigning SSC Coach of the Year Keith Fulk looks to leave his Lions back to the top.
Lynn collected 48 points to sit third, while the reigning SSC tournament champion Barry Buccaneers earned the remaining first-place vote and 45 points to sit fourth.
Tampa (36 points) capped the top-five, while Florida Tech (26 points), Florida Southern (25 points), Nova Southeastern (16 points) and Eckerd (12 points) rounded out the poll.
Rollins returns just six starters from last year's lineup. The Tars had five All-SSC First Team recipients last season, but only 2013 SSC Freshman of the Year Tosan Popo returns from that group. Coming off the bench last year and earning All-SSC Second Team honors was Grant Blackhurst. He returns for his junior season.
The Tars advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals a season ago and were recently ranked No. 5 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason poll. Saint Leo was ranked No. 17 in the same poll.
Rank – Team, Points (1st-place votes)
1 – Saint Leo, 62 (6)
2 – Rollins, 54 (2)
3 – Lynn, 48
4 – Barry, 45 (1)
5 – Tampa, 36
6 – Florida Tech, 26
7 – Florida Southern, 25
8 – Nova Southeastern, 16
9 – Eckerd, 12