NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Saint Louis picked up 10 first-place votes to sit atop the 2014 Atlantic 10 Conference Men’s Soccer Preseason Poll announced by the league on Tuesday.
SLU garnered a total of 164 points to take the top spot in the poll, while defending A-10 champion George Mason snared a pair of first-place nods and a total of 151 points to place second. VCU earned the final first-place vote and a total of 147 points to finish third in the poll taken of the A-10’s 13 head coaches.
Saint Louis returns five of its top six scorers from last season’s squad that finished the A-10 regular season in first-place with a 6-0-2 mark and advanced to the A-10 Championship match. Two-time reigning A-10 Coach of the Year Mike McGinty returns Hermann Trophy Watch List members Robert Kristo and Anthony Manning. Manning was named the 2013 A-10 Defensive Player of the Year and anchors a back line that surrendered just 19 goals and posted eight shutouts last season. Kristo finished the 2013 season ranked second in the league with 24 points on 10 goals and four assists. Kristo is a two-time All-American, registering 66 career points on 27 goals and 12 assists. Also back in the mix for McGinty is Kingsley Bryce (8g, 4a, 20 pts.) who finished tied for sixth in the A-10 in points last season and David Graydon who dished out seven assists in 2013 and earned all-region honors.
In its first year in the A-10, Mason finished right behind SLU in the standings with a 5-0-3 regular season record. The Patriots knocked off the Billikens, 1-0, in the A-10 Championship, earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament where they advanced past William & Mary on penalty kicks, before falling to eventual national semifinalist New Mexico. A-10 Rookie of the Year Steffen Kraus is back in the net for Mason following a freshman campaign in which he posted nine shutouts and a 0.71 goals against average, earning him First-Team All Atlantic 10 honors and a spot on the NSCAA All-American team.
VCU has made two consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament and returns its two top scorers from last season in Kharlton Belmar and Dennis Castillo. Belmar had eight goals and two assists for a team best 18 points, earning him First-Team All-Atlantic 10 accolades. Castillo had six goals in 2013, with three of those strikes registering as game-winners for the Rams. Castillo joined Belmar on the A-10’s First-Team following the regular season.
Dayton came in fourth in the poll with 127 points, A-10 newcomer Davidson earned 105 points to take the fifth slot, while Duquesne had an even 100 points to place sixth.
La Salle (93 pts.) and Fordham (70 pts.) finished in seventh and eighth place respectively, while George Washington (58 pts.), Saint Joseph’s (53 pts.), Massachusetts (40 pts.), Rhode Island (39 pts.) and St. Bonaventure (34 pts.) rounded out the poll.
2014 Atlantic 10 Men's Soccer Preseason Poll
Total Points (First-Place Votes)
|Saint Louis||164 (10)|
|George Mason||151 (2)|
2014 Atlantic 10 Men’s Soccer Preseason All-Conference Team
Timi Mulgrew, George Mason
Robert Kristo, Saint Louis
Kingsley Bryce, Saint Louis
Kharlton, Belmar, VCU
Amass Amankona, Dayton
David Graydon, Saint Louis
Devon Fisher, VCU
Taylor Washington, George Mason
Anthony Manning, Saint Louis
Dennis Castillo, VCU
Steffen Kraus, George Mason
Matt Reinikka, Davidson
Dillon Nino, Dayton
Lance Gasper, Dayton
Henning Dirks, George Mason
Alain Sargent, George Mason
Nils Leifhelm, Rhode Island
Andre Rivers-Hardware, Saint Louis
Patrick Sarr, Saint Louis
Rafael Andrade Santos, VCU
Pierre Gardan, VCU
Jorge Herranz, VCU