Aug. 7, 2012
Kansas City, Kan. -- The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and Continental Tire released the NCAA Division I Men's College Preseason Rankings on Tuesday, listing College Cup Finalist Charlotte eighth and recognizing two-time defending A-10 Champion Xavier with votes.
Charlotte, recently picked to top the A-10 Conference in the coaches' predicted order of finish, returns eight starters and 13 letterwinners from last season's squad that made a historic run to the College Cup final and finished the regular season 16-5-4 overall and 6-1-2 in league play. The Niners, who spent the entire 2011 campaign ranked, finished a school-record No. 2 in the final NSCAA Coaches Poll. The men's soccer team was the first Charlotte team - in any sport - to reach an NCAA Championship. New head coach Kevin Langan welcomes back a talent-rich squad anchored by reigning Soccer America National Freshman of the Year and A-10 Rookie of the Year, Giuseppe Gentile (22pts, 10g, 2a), along with a pair of All-Atlantic 10 picks from a year ago in senior midfielder Donnie Smith and redshirt-junior midfielder Tyler Gibson.
Xavier, looking to become only the third active A-10 school to claim three Championship crowns (Rhode Island, Dayton) and the first to win three straight, returns its entire starting lineup from last year's squad that went 12-5-4 overall and 4-3-2 against A-10 foes. The Musketeers' returning players account for 26 of 31 goals scored and 35 of 37 assists tallied in 2011. Among the top returnees are senior forward Luke Spencer (7g, 6a), junior midfielder Gino Depaoli (6g, 7a), junior defender Nick Hagglund (1g, 3a), and senior goalkeeper Justin Marshall (0.89 GAA). Xavier made its second consecutive NCAA Championship appearance last year, before dropping a heartbreaking, 2-1, decision at West Virginia.
The newly expanded eight-team A-10 Men's Soccer Championship will be held Nov. 8-11 at Charlotte's Transamerica Field. The 49ers will host the Championship for the second time in three years and third time overall since joining the Atlantic 10 during the 2005-06 academic year.
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