A-Sun Men's Soccer Ready to Kick Off 2012 Season

Thursday, August 23, 2012

MACON, Ga. - Eighteen matches are set for play in the opening weekend for Atlantic Sun men's soccer teams including three against ranked opponents. FGCU faces No. 2 Akron, the 2010 NCAA Champions, while Mercer travels to play No. 21 UAB. Stetson completes the trio of ranked games with No. 23 West Virginia on Monday.

Six of the 18 matches will be held on A-Sun turf as North Florida and Jacksonville both have two home contests in the opening week with identical opponents (Georgia State and Siena), while Lipscomb and ETSU also have their home openers this week.

A-Sun Men's Soccer Weekly Notes (#ASunMSoc):
  • ETSU was predicted by the coaches to finish at the top of the Atlantic Sun standings at the end of the season. Last season, the Buccaneers finished sixth in the A-Sun with a 3-4-1 record, but tallied a 10-7-4 overall record.
  • FGCU and ETSU are tied for the most wins over the past two seasons by A-Sun teams with 25. Stetson has won 20 games since 2010.
  • Stetson’s Jonathan Mendoza, the A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year, was one of 42 male student-athletes on the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Trophy Watch List. Mendoza scored 11 goals and tallied five assists to earn NSCAA Third Team All-America honors in 2011.
  • The last A-Sun student-athlete to win back-to-back Player of the Year honors was Centenary’s Greg Woodbridge in 1988 and 1989.
  • Luis Ocejo, Stetson’s senior defender, was tabbed the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year after earning the same honor at the end of the 2011 season. Ocejo started in 18 matches for the Hatters and notched seven points last season.
  • ETSU’s Ryan Coulter, the Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year, owned the best goals against average (1.07) in the A-Sun and recorded eight shutouts - the most in the conference. Coulter made 70 total saves in 2011.
  • Ryan Pratt, Jacksonville’s first-year head coach, will make his Dolphins’ debut on Friday vs. Georgia State. Pratt previously served as head coach at University of Montevallo where he accumulated 99 wins in nine seasons.
  • Lipscomb, Mercer and Stetson are the only A-Sun teams to appear in each of the previous four A-Sun Championships. Lipscomb has earned spots in the past five tournaments, while Stetson has played in the past 14 A-Sun Championships.
  • Northern Kentucky makes its Division I men’s soccer debut in the state of Wisconsin with contests against UW-Green Bay and UW-Milwaukee this weekend. Last season, the Norse went 14-5 and advanced to NCAA D-II Second Round. In 2010, NKU won the D-II NCAA Title with a 20-2-3 final record.
  • Last season, USC Upstate tallied five wins on the season after winning only one in 2010. The four-win improvement was the largest by an A-Sun member in 2011. The Spartans’ .400 winning percentage was the program’s best as a Division I member.
  • North Florida opens the season with four consecutive home matches starting with Siena and Georgia State in the first weekend. The Ospreys will be searching for the program’s second A-Sun Championship appearance after missing out the past two seasons.
  • Last season, the A-Sun posted seven positive results against ranked opponents with four wins and three ties. ETSU and FGCU both appeared in the national rankings as Bucs peaked at No. 19 in the polls, while FGCU spiked at No. 25.

    A-Sun Active Career Points Leaders
    Rank Player (School)
    1. Jonathan Mendoza (Stetson) Sr. 53
    2. David Geno (ETSU) Jr. 32
    3. Kai Eckenrode (Stetson) Sr. 29
    4. Deion Jones (FGCU) Sr. 27
    T5. Will Betts (Mercer) Sr. 22
    T5. Joakim Helland (Stetson) Sr. 22
    T7. Andres Navas (FGCU) Sr. 18
    T7. Itode Fubara (ETSU) Jr. 18

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