Iowa Wesleyan picked 8th in preseason poll
The Iowa Wesleyan College men’s soccer team has been slated to finish eighth in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC).
The men’s team garnered 26 points in the preseason poll, enough to top Eureka College (19 points) and MacMurray College (14 points).
Just as in the SLIAC women’s soccer preseason poll, Webster University took the top spot.
The Gorloks received 79 points in the men’s poll, including seven first-place votes to become the preseason favorites.
Webster finished 12-6-2 last season, winning both the regular season and the SLIAC Tournament titles. The Gorloks will not be without change this year, however, as they bring in a new head coach, Michael Siener, who spent the previous two years as the program’s associate head coach. Siener will have to rebuild a starting lineup that returns just three starters, but 15 overall returners.
The battle for second place is predicted to be a close one as three teams are within two points of each other in the preseason poll.
Fontbonne University, which finished last season in fourth place, is the pick to edge out the others for second place after picking up 64 total points including two first-place votes. The Griffins finished last year 12-6-2 and 5-3 in the SLIAC and return 18 players, including seven starters.
After tying for second place in the regular season last year, Westminster College and Greenville College are tied in the poll to finish in third place this season, with 62 points each.
Westminster picked up the final first-place vote in the poll and returns 20 players, including nine starters, from a team that went 10-7-2 last season. The Blue Jays will be led by first year head coach Andrew Bordelon and will look to their experienced team to make a return to the post-season.
Greenville College finished 2012 with a 10-6-3 overall record and a 5-0-3 mark in the SLIAC. They return 13 players and seven starters and will be headed up by first-year head coach Chris Swift.
Principia College received 50 total points and was picked to finish in fifth place this season. The Panthers finished last year 5-14-1 overall but put together a strong conference mark at 4-2-1. They return all 11 starters from last year’s team and are led by longtime head coach Vitalis Otieno.
Spalding University was chosen to finish sixth this season after picking up 46 total points. The Golden Eagles were 6-10-2 last season and return nine starters and 19 players.
Blackburn College received 27 total points and is picked to finish seventh this year. The Beavers will be led by first-year head coach Rob Steinkuehler, who takes over a team that was 7-10 overall last season and brings back five starters.
IWC, a newcomer to the league this year, received 26 points and is picked to finish eighth in the conference.
The Tigers were 7-10 last season and are coached by Brocklon Chatman, who is in his third season at the helm.
Chatman and the Tigers already have some familiarity with their conference foes this year as they played seven games against SLIAC members last season in preparation, recording three wins.
They will be led by sophomore defender Tyler Hitt, and newcomer Bo Vitale — a freshman from Mt. Pleasant — looks to contribute right away after being named Southeast Iowa Player of the Year while in high school.
Eureka College picked up 19 total points and is predicted to finish ninth in the SLIAC. The Red Devils bring in new head coach, Brian O’Malley an alum and former soccer standout, who served the previous two years as an assistant coach with the team.
MacMurray College received 14 total points in the poll and was chosen to finish tenth in the conference this year. The Highlanders were 5-12-1 last season but were unable to pick up a win in conference play.
The season starts for Iowa Wesleyan on Aug. 31 when the Tigers host Culver-Stockton College. They play their first conference game on Sept. 28, at home against Fontbonne College.