ROCK HILL, SC—The annual Big South Conference Men’s Soccer preseason poll was released Wednesday afternoon and the league’s coaches voted Winthrop second, tied with High Point.
The Eagles and the Panthers each received a total of 82 votes as Winthrop garnered two first place votes despite finishing 8th in the league standings last year. The Eagles, who were 11-7-1 overall and 5-5 in the Big South in 2013, return a core of last year’s team that won 11 games overall but look to replace four of the team’s top five scorers. The team does return all four backs as well as its starting keeper and three starting midfielders.
Both Winthrop and High Point were second as reigning league champion Coastal Carolina received 96 total votes (seven first place) is favored to capture the league once again. The Chanticleers are led by preseason Attacking Player of the Year Ricky Garbanzo and preseason Defensive Player of the Year Shawn McLaws.
This is the highest preseason ranking for the Eagles since 2010 when they were tied for second with Coastal Carolina as High Point was the favorite that season.
The Eagles and Panthers were followed by Campbell in fourth with 65 votes (one first place vote) while Liberty (5th), Radford (6th), Gardner-Webb (7th), Longwood (8th), UNC Asheville (9th) and Presbyterian College (10th) rounded out the poll.
Winthrop returns eight starters including 2013 Freshman of the Year Max Hasenstab, who tied for the team-lead in points (23) as well as Magnus Thorsson, an All-Big South selection.
Rk Team (first-place votes) Points
1. Coastal Carolina (7) 96
T-2. Winthrop (2) 82
T-2. High Point 82
4. Campbell (1) 65
5. Liberty 58
6. Radford 48
7. Gardner-Webb 43
8. Longwood 35
9. UNC Asheville 23
10. Presbyterian College 18