OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (August 11, 2015) -- After finishing the 2014 campaign with a 9-7-2 overall mark, the John Brown men's soccer team has been picked to finish sixth in the Sooner Athletic Conference, according to the voting by conference coaches in the annual preseason poll, announced Tuesday (Aug. 11) by the conference office.
Science & Arts (Okla.), which has made the previous six NAIA National Championships, was again picked as the clear favorite in what is expected to be a tightly contested men’s soccer race. USAO, which finished last season with an 18-4-0 record and captured the 2014 conference tournament title, finished seven points ahead of Oklahoma City, last year’s regular season champion. USAO was voted first on seven of the nine ballots and finished with a total of 79 points while OCU collected one first-place vote and six second-place votes to finish in the runner-up spot with 72 points.
Southwestern Christian (Okla.) was picked third with 59 points while Texas Wesleyan was fourth (58), Wayland Baptist (Texas) came in fifth (52) and John Brown finished sixth (51). Mid-America Christian (Okla.) (39), St. Gregory’s (Okla.) (33), Southwestern A.G. (Texas) (25) and conference newcomer Bacone (Okla.) (16) completed the poll.
The Golden Eagles return 13 letterwinners from the 2014 campaign and welcome 14 new faces this season. With the most difficult schedule assembled in some time, JBU will be without its top three scorers from last season, Eli Simonsen (4 goals, 10 assists), Martin Gonzalez (6 goals, 5 assists) and Ryan Duncan (7 goals). Junior Marco Cardona (2 goals, 5 assists) and Collin Smith (5 assists) lead the returners, which will need to make up 17 of 26 goals scored last season (65.4 percent) that were lost to graduation. However, defender Douglas Oliveira and goalkeeper Adam Holt, both sophomores, highlight a pair of returning All-Conference performances from last season.
The 2015 men's soccer season begins Aug. 21 with 10 teams scheduled to compete, including the Golden Eagles, which open at William Carey (Miss.) at 7:30 p.m. Conference teams will use a double round-robin scheduling model, in which each team plays a home and away match against each of the other teams. The top eight teams in the final conference standings qualify for the SAC tournament, with the winner earning an automatic berth to the NAIA National Championships.
2015 SAC Men’s Soccer Preseason Poll
|1.||Science & Arts (Okla.)||7||1||79|
|3.||Southwestern Christian (Okla.)||1||3||2||2||59|
|5.||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||1||1||2||2||1||1||52|
|6.||John Brown (Ark.)||2||2||1||3||51|
|7.||Mid-America Christian (Okla.)||1||5||2||39|
|8.||St. Gregory's (Okla.)||1||6||1||33|
|9.||Southwestern A.G. (Texas)||1||7||25|