Lions Picked to Finish Second in SACAugust 14, 2012
Six Lions named Preseason All-SAC
ROCK HILL, S.C.—The Mars Hill men’s soccer team was picked to finish second in the South Atlantic Conference by the league’s coaches in a poll that was released Tuesday. The Lions placed six student-athletes on the SAC Preseason All-Conference Team.
Mars Hill finished one point behind Tusculum for the top spot in the poll. The Lions garnered four first-place votes. Last season, MHC advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II Soccer Championship. The Lions have been ranked 17th in the preseason NSCAA national poll. Mars Hill led the conference with six selections to the preseason All-Conference Team.
Garnering preseason First Team All-Conference honors were forwards Stephen Bivens and Felipe Ferraro, midfielder Alex Mullen and goalkeeper Zac Scott. Defenders Gregg Munn and Cody Langley were named preseason Second Team All-Conference.
Bivens and Mullen were the Lions top two scorers last season. Bivens led the team with 24 points on 11 goals and two assists. Mullen scored six goals and assisted on four more for a total of 16 points. Ferraro scored five goals and assisted on another on his way to totaling 11 points last season.
Scott led the SAC with a .860 save percentage.
Munn and Langley helped anchor a stingy Lions back line last season that allowed an average of just 0.74 goals per game. Munn added a pair of goals and five assists.
Mars Hill will be entering its first season under head coach Gary Hamel. The Lions open the season at home against Barry University on Aug. 30 at 5 p.m.
Tusculum was selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2012 league title. The Pioneers received two first-place votes after finishing second in the SAC standing last year. Tusculum will feature a pair of preseason first-team defenders, Matia Rubio and Fredrik Muren.
Finishing a point behind Mars Hill was defending SAC regular season and tournament champion Anderson. The Trojans went 9-0 in conference play last season, and will be led by first-team picks Shu Ogawa (midfielder) and Lukas Hesse (goalkeeper).
Lincoln Memorial was fourth in the preseason poll and received one first-place vote. The Railsplitters placed three student-athletes on the First Team, led by 2011 Freshman of the Year Mario Pinto.
Pinto finished second in the conference last season in both goals and points.
2011 Food Lion SAC Championship runner-up Lenoir-Rhyne was voted No. 5 in the preseason poll, followed by No. 6 Carson-Newman. Three Eagles players were named to the preseason All-SAC Second Team.
Catawba and Wingate tied for No. 7 in the preseason poll after finishing sixth and eighth in last year’s conference standings, respectively.
Catawba had three players selected to the preseason All-SAC First Team, including forward Carson Smith, who finished second in the league in assists in 2011.
Completing the poll were No. 9 Newberry and No. 10 Brevard. Two Newberry student-athletes earned spots on the preseason All-SAC Second Team.
SAC Men’s Soccer Preseason Rankings
Team Points (1st-place votes)
1. Tusculum 69 (2)
2. Mars Hill 68 (4)
3. Anderson 67 (3)
4. Lincoln Memorial 62 (1)
5. Lenoir-Rhyne 44
6. Carson-Newman 40
7. Catawba 37
9. Newberry 16
10. Brevard 10
SAC Men’s Soccer Preseason All-Conference Team
Position- Name, School
F- Mario Pinto, Lincoln Memorial
F- Stephen Bivens, Mars Hill
F- Felipe Ferraro, Mars Hill
F- Carson Smith, Catawba
MF- Shu Ogawa, Anderson
MF- Chris Nash, Lincoln Memorial
MF- Corey Faughnan, Catawba
MF- Alex Mullen, Mars Hill
D- Callum Home, Lincoln Memorial
D- Matias Rubio, Tusculum
D- Domhnall Minogue, Catawba
D- Fredrik Muren, Tusculum
GK- Zac Scott, Mars Hill*
GK- Lukas Hesse, Anderson*
*Two-way tie for first-team goalkeeper; no second-team selection
F- Leonardo Germiniani, Lincoln Memorial
F- Tapiwa Munetsi, Anderson
F- Emmanuel Aboaye, Carson-Newman
F- Kofi Kufuor, Newberry
MF- Roberto Pimentel, Tusculum
MF- Stephen McNeill, Tusculum
MF- Taylor Jolley, Carson-Newman
MF- Adrian Ochoa, Newberry
D- Evan Preston-Kelly, Carson-Newman
D- Zak Moss, Anderson
D- Gregg Munn, Mars Hill
D- Cody Langley, Mars Hill