08/24/12 — Coaches predict 'diverse' Trojans will finish 10th overall

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Coaches predict 'diverse' Trojans will finish 10th overall

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 24, 2012 1:48 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- "We're picked 10th?"

The prediction just didn't sit well with Mount Olive College men's soccer coach Godfrey Miller when the 2012 Conference Carolinas preseason poll was unveiled Thursday morning.

The Trojans logged a 4-7 worksheet against league opposition a year ago and shared third place in the East Division. Twelve lettermen return, including Ramon Gallardo, who played on the Carolina Railhawks' Under-23 team that won its regional and advanced to the Nationals Finals Cup in Chicago.

"I like the fact that we're under-looked," Godfrey said.

League coaches certainly didn't overlook Coker (S.C.) College, which collected nine first-place votes and 99 total points. The reigning conference champions, the Cobras are ranked No. 18 in the preseason NSCAA Division II poll and return 11 veterans from a year ago.

Coker has won two of the last three CC titles and will join the South Atlantic Conference in the fall of the 2013.

Limestone (S.C.) College garnered two first-place votes and compiled 90 points. Six-time conference champion Lees-McRae, which reached the NCAA Division II semifinals in 2010, was tabbed third with 79 points. The Bobcats emerged as the league's Western Division champions a year ago.

Erskine and Barton were picked to share fourth place. Queens University of Charlotte was sixth, followed by King (Tenn.), North Greenville (S.C.), Belmont Abbey, MOC and Pfeiffer University.

Miller piled up frequent flyer miles during the offseason and brought in players from several European and South American nations. Of the 30-man roster, 18 are new faces and 14 are freshmen.

"We have a very different look from last year's team," Miller said. "We have added more speed on the attack and on our back line of defense. We have added some very skilled freshmen and a couple of transfers at every position on our roster."

Mount Olive ended up 6-12-0 a year ago with 11 of those contests decided by two goals or less. The Trojans haven't won a conference championship since 2004.