INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- The Mars Hill men's soccer team is ranked third in the Southeast Region in the first official NCAA Men's Soccer Regional Rankings, which were released Thursday.
The Lions are currently ranked 18th in the nation with an 11-2-1 overall record. Mars Hill sits atop the South Atlantic Conference standings with a 6-1 record in league play. The Lions are in their first season under head coach Gary Hamel. The official NCAA poll is used to determine the seeding in the Regionals of the NCAA Tournament. The top six teams in each region will earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Lander is the top team in the region, followed by Flagler. The two teams are ranked eighth and 13th in the nation respectively. Mars Hill is 1-1-1 against teams ranked in the Southeast Region. The Lions defeated eighth-ranked Lincoln Memorial 2-1, played fourth-ranked UNC Pembroke to a 0-0 stalemate and dropped a 1-0 decision to seventh-ranked Limestone early in the season.
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One of the keys to Mars Hill's success this season has been a stingy defense. The Lions are allowing 0.77 goals per game, best in the conference. Mars Hill's offense has produced to help the Lions outscore their opponents by 16 goals this season, second best in the SAC.
Goalkeeper Zac Scott leads the conference with an .867 save percentage and a 0.70 goals-against average. Shadi Harb and Stephen Bivens are tied for second in the conference with eight goals apiece.
Mars Hill can clinch the South Atlantic Conference title with a victory at Wingate this Saturday. The Lions will take on the Bulldogs, who are ranked fifth in the Southeast Region and in second place in the SAC, at 5:00 p.m.