Spartanburg, S.C. – The annual A-Sun men's soccer coaches poll and preseason awards were released Thursday and USC Upstate had been picked to finish seventh in the A-Sun this season.
Upstate is coming off arguably its top season since moving to Division I in 2007 for veteran head coach Greg Hooks. The Spartans tied the program's Division I record with five wins overall and topped all other years with three wins and 10 points in the A-Sun standings in 2012. The Spartans were tied for fifth place in the league standings and placed two players on the all-conference team, including returning leading scorer Dave Musambi (Ottawa, Ontario). Upstate also scored more goals in 2012 (18) than in any other year on the Division I level.
In addition to Musambi, Upstate also returns starting goalkeeper Dani Alvarado (Leander, Texas). Alvarado ranked 15th in the nation in save percentage and earned two A-Sun Goalkeeper of the Week honors in his first year as a starter between the pipes last season. Hooks will have nine players who started at least nine matches last year returning this season and has added to the team's depth and talent with a recruiting class of 11 newcomers.
Florida Gulf Coast was picked to win the A-Sun regular season championship with seven first place votes and 79 points. ETSU was second with a first place vote and 69 points. Mercer also garnered a first place vote and was third with 66 points. Lipscomb was fourth with 45 points and was followed by Northern Kentucky (42), Jacksonville (37), Upstate (26), Stetson (25) and North Florida (16).
Upstate did not have any player selected for the preseason all-conference team and did not take home any of the preseason individual honors. ETSU's David Geno was picked as the preseason player of the year, ETSU's Blaike Woodruff was named the preseason defensive player of the year and Mercer's Greg Ranjitsingh was named the preseason goalkeeper of the year.