ETSU Predicted to Win Title; Mendoza Tabbed Top Player

Thursday, August 09, 2012

MACON, Ga. - ETSU led the way on the 2012 Atlantic Sun Preseason All-Conference team with four selections as the Buccaneers were predicted to capture the regular-season and tournament titles by the league coaches. Stetson's Jonathan Mendoza and Luis Ocejo were honored as the Preseason Player and Defensive Player of the Year.

The quartet of Bucs to land on the team included Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year Ryan Coulter, defender Blaike Woodruff, midfielder Itode Fubara and forward David Geno. Between the pipes, Coulter was tops in the conference last season with a 1.07 goal against average and eight shutouts, while stopping 70 shots. Woodruff, Fubara and Geno combined to total 10 goals and 10 assists in 2011 with the junior forward netting four game-winning goals - tied for most in the A-Sun.

FGCU - predicted to finish second - picked up three preseason all-conference nods with Federico Crespo, Deion Jones and Xavier Silva. Crespo, a sophomore defender, tallied two assists in 20 starts, while Jones added six assists of his own. Silva, the 2011 Freshman of the Year, ranked eighth in the A-Sun with 15 points, but tied with ETSU's Geno for game-winners with four. The Eagles captured the 2010 and 2011 regular-season titles as well as last year's A-Sun Men's Soccer Championship.

Mendoza and Ocejo were joined by teammate Kai Eckenrode on the preseason squad as the Hatters were predicted to finish third in the conference. Mendoza, the 2011 Player of the Year, led the A-Sun with 27 points and 11 goals, which included three game-winners. Ocejo started in 18 matches for the Hatters and notched seven points, while Eckenrode tallied four goals and six assists as a forward in 2011.

Mercer's Josh Shutter secured a spot on the preseason list after netting three goals and passing out four assists in 18 starts last season. The Bears were predicted to finish fourth this season after a 9-8-3 record last year. Jacksonville and Lipscomb tied for fifth in the preseason coaches poll.

USC Upstate's John Kadane completed the A-Sun's preseason team. The senior defender netted two goals in 2011 both of which won the contest for the Spartans. Upstate was predicted to finish seventh in the league ahead of North Florida and newcomer Northern Kentucky.

ETSU's Coulter was also selected as the A-Sun Fan Preseason Player of the Year in a fan-vote conducted on the conference Facebook page, while the Buccaneers were picked to capture the regular-season crown by fans as well.

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The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, Northern Kentucky University, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.