Saint Louis and VCU Earn Preseason National Rankings
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Defending Atlantic 10 Champion Saint Louis has been ranked No. 10 in the 2013 College Soccer News Preseason Poll, while VCU was tabbed No. 27.
The Billikens are coming off a 16-win campaign that saw them capture the A-10 title, earn the No. 8 national seed in the NCAA Tournament and post the most wins since the 2001 campaign.
The Billikens return almost everyone including players who netted forty-three of the forty-six goals scored by the 2012 team that was 16-5-0 overall, won the Atlantic-10 Conference Championship, and received the number eight seed in the NCAA Tourney. The offense will be powered very capably by junior forward Robbie Kristo (11g, 5a), junior forward Kingsley Bryce (7g, 3a) and senior forward Adnan Gabeljic (7g, 5a). Senior Alex Sweetin (6g, 5a) is part of a deep and talented group of midfielders. Senior Jon Roeckle and junior centerback Anthony Manning anchor the defense. Saint Louis should be very good but it remains to be seen whether they can win the really big games. Nonconference contests with Connecticut in Storrs on September 21 and Creighton at home on October 2 will be huge.
Seven starters return from the 2012 team that was 12-4-3 overall and returned the Rams to the NCAA Tourney field for the first time since the 2007 season. The biggest gap to plug is the one created by the decision of forward Jason Johnson who was the 2012 Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year to depart early to enter the professional ranks. Key returning players include sophomore forward/midfielder Devon Fisher (6g, 1a), senior midfielder Romena Bowie (0g, 2a) who was a 2012 All-Atlantic 10 First Team selection, highly regarded sophomore center back Dennis Castillo (6g, 0a) who was a 2012 CSN All-Freshman selection, and goalkeeper Andrew Wells. A brutal schedule that includes Maryland, Akron, Virginia and Wake Forest on the road and Indiana at home could prove costly.
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