Aug. 10, 2011
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Charlotte has been selected to capture the 2011 Atlantic 10 Conference Men’s Soccer Championship, in voting conducted among the league’s head coaches.
Vying for its first Conference title, Charlotte, the 2010 A-10 regular season champion, is ranked 23rd in the College Soccer News preseason poll and returns nine starters among 20 letterwinners off last season's squad that went 13-5-1 overall and 8-1 in league play. Head Coach Jeremy Gunn welcomes back a league-best five preseason All-Conference picks, including reigning A-10 Defensive Player of the Year Charles Rodriguez and reigning A-10 Midfielder and Rookie of the Year Tyler Gibson, along with a pair of All-Atlantic 10 picks from a year ago in midfielder Donnie Smith and defender Isaac Cowles.
Rodriguez anchored a 49ers’ defense that recorded 10 shutouts and limited 14 foes to a goal or less last season, while Gibson directed the Charlotte midfield throughout the year, playing in all 19 of the team’s games and ranking among the program’s leaders in both goals (4) and assists (4). Gibson helped Charlotte to the top seed in the A-10 Championship, the 49ers highest seed in school history.
Guiseppe Gentile, an incoming freshman forward at Charlotte, also earned recognition on the A-10’s preseason All-Rookie Team. Gentile was named the Charlotte Observer Player of the Year as a junior and the 4A Southwest Conference Player of the Year.
Saint Louis, the league’s 2009 champion and three-time regular-season winner, is picked second after finishing 9-7-3 overall and 5-3-1 against A-10 competition. The Billikens return several talented starters, including senior midfielder Mike Roach, who suffered an injury that sidelined him for the majority of the 2010 campaign. Roach, a MAC Hermann Trophy candidate and preseason All-American last year, is SLU’s active career scoring leader with 12 goals and three assists (27 pts). Roach is joined by classmate Alex Johnston, along with 2010 A-10 All-Conference selections Alex Sweetin and Michael Robson. The Bills also boast a pair of preseason A-10 All-Rookie team picks in Robbie Kristo and William Hidalgo.
Defending A-10 Champion Xavier is picked third after closing out the 2010 campaign 10-7-4 overall and 5-4 in A-10 action. The Musketeers made the school’s NCAA Tournament debut last season against West Virginia, after capturing the program’s first A-10 title. Head Coach Andy Fleming returns for his sophomore season, along with preseason All-Conference selection Luke Spencer. Spencer, a junior forward, led the Musketeers offensively in 2010, registering 14 points off five goals and four assists. The local Cincinnati product is among the 16 letterwinners returning to the pitch for XU this season, including seven starters.
Charlotte, Saint Louis and Xavier are followed by Fordham and Temple, who tied for fourth, while St. Bonaventure is sixth, three-time Champion Dayton is seventh and 2010 runner-up La Salle is eighth. Massachusetts is ninth, followed by Duquesne, Richmond, Rhode Island, George Washington and Saint Joseph’s.
The six-team A-10 Men’s Soccer Championship will be held Nov. 10-13 at Robert R. Hermann Stadium on the campus of Saint Louis University. The Billikens will host the Championship for the first time since 2005, SLU’s first season in the league.
2011 ATLANTIC 10 MEN’S SOCCER PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH (2010 overall record/A-10 record in parentheses)
1. Charlotte (13-5-1/8-1)
2. Saint Louis (9-7-3/5-3-1)
3. Xavier (10-7-4/5-4-0)
4. Fordham (10-8/5-4)
6. St. Bonaventure (10-8-1/5-3-1)
7. Dayton (7-8-3/3-4-2)
8. La Salle (9-7-3/6-2-1)
9. Massachusetts (5-5-8/4-2-3)
10. Duquesne (8-7-3/4-4-1)
11. Richmond (5-12-1/4-5-0)
12. Rhode Island (3-13-2/1-7-1)
13. George Washington (3-15/1-8)
14. Saint Joseph’s (2-15/1-8)
PRESEASON A-10 MEN’S SOCCER ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Simon Gomez, Duquesne, SO, F
Evan James, Charlotte, SR, F
Seth Rudolph, George Washington, JR, F
Luke Spencer, Xavier, JR, F
Cody Calafiore, Temple, JR, MF
Tyler Gibson, Charlotte, SO, MF
Donnie Smith, Charlotte, JR, MF
Charles Rodriguez, Charlotte, SR, D
Jack Pearson, Dayton, SR, D
Isaac Cowles, Charlotte, SR, D
Ryan Meara, Fordham, SR, GK
PRESEASON A-10 MEN’S SOCCER ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
David Abidor, Dayton, FR, MF
Tom Baker, La Salle, FR, MF/F
Johnny Contreras, Duquesne, FR, D
Guiseppe Gentile, Charlotte, FR, F
William Hidalgo, Saint Louis, FR, MF
Robbie Kristo, Saint Louis, FR, F
Ross Morison, Rhode Island, FR, F
Max Odgaard, Dayton, FR, F
Matthew Sykes, Rhode Island, FR, MF
Filip Velasevic, Duquesne, FR, MF
James Weber, Xavier, FR, F