MOC men's soccer picked 4th in preseason league poll
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 27, 2013 1:47 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- A late-season surge didn't go un-noticed when coaches considered Mount Olive's position in the 2013 preseason Conference Carolinas men's soccer poll.
The Trojans finished 3-0-2 in their final five outings of 2012 and reached the semifinals of the league tournament for the first time since 2006. That success helped translate into a No. 4 ranking in the nine-team poll released Monday morning. MOC collected 37 points.
"Honestly, I'm actually pleased that we were picked fourth. There was a little bit of the work that we put in (late) last year, I would say not knowing that much about this year's team, yet," said third-year Trojans head coach Godfrey Miller.
"We are missing six starters from last year's team. It will be a good challenge to get back to where we were last year with our finish in the conference."
Coaches expect Limestone (S.C.) College to repeat as the regular-season and tournament champion this fall. The Saints return 10 starters, including eight who earned all-conference status last fall. Limestone drew eight first-place nods ahead of in-state rival Erskine (S.C.), which received one first-place vote.
The Saints held a 64-56 edge in total points over the Flying Fleet.
Barton was selected third. Belmont Abbey took fifth behind the Trojans, followed by third-year member North Greenville (S.C.). Former conference champion Lees-McRae, King (Tenn.) and Pfeiffer University rounded out the poll.
"It's interesting with soccer because you never know what's out there because there is a lot of international influence ... players and coaches," Godfrey said. "You never know what may happen. That's what is amazing about our league because we don't recruit in the same places.
"There are some programs that are doing better. I think the conference will be pretty much open, will be very competitive and strong because that is one of the sports in our conference that you never know what might go down."
MOC welcomes back its entire defensive third -- goalie Nick Bernsdorf, Louis Gorman, Tanner Tolston, Macon Watkins and Josh Woodburn. Bernsdorf logged a 1.27 goals-against-average between the pipes. The four in front of the box were -- in part -- responsible for the Trojans' late run that included draws against a pair of teams ranked among the Southeast Region's top 10.
Tyler Vandevender and Tolston are the top two goal scorers returning from 2012. Each punched in two goals.
Godfrey signed 13 freshmen in the offseason and has 16 new faces total on his 28-player roster. MOC opens the season Sept. 5 at Francis Marion (S.C.) University.
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