HAMILTON – The Patriot League announced Tuesday that Colgate Men’s Soccer has been projected to finish fifth in the 2013 preseason poll.
Just two seasons removed from its last league title in 2011, Colgate has qualified for three straight league tournaments and seven of the last eight. Should that string continue under ninth-year head coach Erik Ronning, it will happen with plenty of new faces on offense.
Just one of the Raiders’ top five scorers from 2012 season is back in sophomore Tyler Forbes (3g). Midfielder Nick Arpey (2a) played in all 19 matches a year ago and will shoulder a significant amount of the leadership responsibilities for a roster that features five seniors. Junior defender Evan Heroux is back after earning All-Patriot League first-team laurels a season ago.
“Based on last year’s team, and the quality of teams in the league, it is fair,” Ronning said of the preseason projections. Colgate finished 3-1-3 in conference play last year and 5-8-6 overall.
“But this is a new year and we are a different team,” Ronning added. “The preseason poll does not mean a whole lot to us. The league is wide open and many teams are capable of being on top at the end. I know we are one of those teams and we are looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.”
American, which has claimed the league tournament’s No. 1 seed each of the last two years, topped the poll with 151 points and nine first-place votes to finish ahead of second-place and league newcomer Boston University, which garnered 130 points and three first-place ballots.
The second of the league’s two new members this season, Loyola (Maryland), took third with 121 points and four first-place votes, while defending league champion Lafayette captured fourth with 115 points and three first-place ballots. The last first-place vote went to Colgate, which finished fifth in the poll with 98 points.
The sixth slot went to Bucknell with 87 points, followed by Navy in seventh with 67. Lehigh (51 points), Holy Cross (44) and Army (36) rounded out the preseason poll.
All 10 teams open Aug. 30. The day begins with Army hosting VMI at noon, followed by a trifecta of 5 p.m. starts: American battles George Washington in Fairfax, Va., in the D.C. College Cup, Boston University hosts Boston College and Loyola visits Saint Joseph’s.
The remaining six contests are all set for 7 p.m., with Lehigh entertaining Bryant, Bucknell playing host to Canisius, Holy Cross going to Hartford, Lafayette welcoming La Salle, Navy visiting Davidson and Colgate entertaining Syracuse.
The Raiders’ game against the Orange will be shown live on Time Warner Cable Sports in Central New York.
With the Patriot League’s expansion to 10 members for 2013, the field for its men’s soccer tournament increases as well from four qualifiers to six. The top two seeds earn byes to the semifinals, while the No. 3 seed hosts No. 6 and No. 4 hosts No. 5 in the Nov. 12 quarterfinals. The top seed hosts the semifinals Nov. 15 and the championship Nov. 17. The tournament bracket re-seed following the quarterfinals.
2013 Patriot League Preseason Poll
1. American 151 points (9 first-place votes)
2. Boston University 130 (3)
3. Loyola (Md.) 121 (4)
4. Lafayette 115 (3)
5. COLGATE 98 (1)
6. Bucknell 87
7. Navy 67
8. Lehigh 51
9. Holy Cross 44
10. Army 36
Preseason All-Patriot League Team
Dominique Badji, Boston University, Jr., F
Larry Ndjock, Loyola (Md.), So., F
Colin Seigfried, American, Sr., M
Anthony Ciccone, Boston University, Sr., M
Alec Golini, Lafayette, Sr., M
Stephen Dooley, Loyola (Md.), Sr., M
Cristobal Soto, American, Sr., D
Kelvin Madzongwe, Boston University, Jr., D
Mayowa Alli, Bucknell, Sr., D
Derek Vogel, Navy, So., D
Billy Knutsen, American, Sr., GK
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year – Larry Ndjock, Loyola (Md.), So., F
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year – Cristobal Soto, American, Sr., D