Men's Soccer Selected to Finish 2016 in Second Place
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- After hosting a Sooner Athletic tournament semifinals match and posting its best conference winning percentage in program history, the John Brown University men's soccer team has been picked to finish second in 2016, according to the voting by conference coaches in the annual preseason poll, announced Wednesday (Aug. 10) afternoon by the conference office.
The 2015 season ended in heartbreak fashion when upstart Southwestern Christian (Okla.) buried a double-overtime goal to take a 2-1 win in the SAC tournament semifinals in front of a capacity crowd at Alumni Field, just three weeks after JBU secured a 4-1 over Christian in the regular season. SCU would eventually go on to lose at SAC champion Science & Arts (Okla.) in the title match.
The semifinals was JBU's deepest run since a Cinderella appearance in the 2012 championship match as the five seed. The Golden Eagles hosted seventh-seeded Oklahoma Baptist at Alumni Field, but fell in penalty kicks after a 1-1 double-overtime draw. OBU would later forfeit the match.
For the seventh-straight season, USAO was picked to win the conference regular season title, sitting atop the poll with 90 points and all nine first-place votes. JBU followed closely behind with 84 points while Oklahoma City finished third with 78 points.
Last year, John Brown finished 8-1-0 (.888) in Sooner Athletic play, its best mark since finishing 4-1-0 (.800) in 2003.
The SAC season will conclude with its championship tournament, featuring the top eight teams from the regular season competing in a single-elimination tournament set to begin Saturday (Nov. 5). The winner of the tournament will receive an automatic berth into the Opening Round of the NAIA National Championships.
The Golden Eagles return five of its seven double-digit scorers, including returning All-SAC first team honorees in Collin Smith, Giovanni Bejarano and Adam Holt. Second-teamer Ryan Williams also returns for another season.
The Golden Eagles open the 2016 campaign with three consecutive home matches with Lyon (Ark.), Southwest Baptist (Mo.) and Benedictine (Kan.), on Aug. 20, 26 and Sept. 3, respectively. Last season, JBU finished 8-1-1 at Alumni Field.
2016 SAC Preseason Coaches' Poll • First place votes in ( )
- Science & Arts – 90 points (9)
- John Brown – 84 points
- Oklahoma City – 78 points
- Southwestern Christian – 76 points
- Wayland Baptist – 64 points
- Texas Wesleyan – 58 points
- Southwestern A.G. – 48 points
- Mid-America Christian – 36 points
- St. Gregory's – 36 points
- Bacone – 20 points