Limestone Selected Preseason Favorite by Men's Soccer Coaches

Thomasville, NC--The 2008 Limestone College men's soccer team is looking to build on its success from the last two seasons, which have seen the squad's best overall finishes in the Conference Carolinas standings, a conference tournament championship, and a NCAA tournament berth. Although the Saints finished third in the conference in 2007 (10-6-1 overall & 6-3-1 league), the season ended sooner than expected with a first round loss in the conference tournament. However, this disappointing result has given the 2008 team a little extra motivation and incentive for the upcoming season.

The Saints have an experienced core of players returning, including team captains Tom Beattie, Ali Benson, and Dominic Casciato. Limestone's current roster features four NSCAA 2007 All-Region team members, the Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year, and four All-Conference honorees. Eight incoming players and two athletes who red shirted last season will add even more talent to Limestone's team.

Head Coach Chris Whalley returns for his fourth season at the helm of the Lees-McRae College soccer team after guiding the team to its best season in program history in 2007. The Bobcats finished the year with a program record 21 wins, (21-2-1 overall & 9-1 league), and qualified for the NCAA Men's Soccer Championships for the first time in program history, winning the Southeast Regional before falling in the Elite Eight.

After winning the Conference Carolinas Regular Season and Tournament Championships in 2007, the first time in conference history a team has claimed both in the same season, the Bobcats return a great deal of experience with 17 letter winners from last season. Twelve new Bobcats also join the fold and will push the returnees as the Bobcats look to return to the NCAA Men's Soccer Championships. The Bobcats enter 2008 as the tenth ranked team in the country according to the NSCAA/adidas preseason poll.

"We are very excited about the upcoming season as we look to improve upon last season and achieve the goals we have set for ourselves," stated Whalley. "The returning players are anxious to get started as are the players we've added to the roster. I am happy with how we're looking thus far in training camp, the depth of the squad is nice, however we're by no means satisfied and will be striving to be playing in November."

Belmont Abbey College was picked to finish third in the preseason coaches poll for the second consecutive year. The Abbey men's soccer team returns 18 starters from last season's 13-9-1 (6-4 conference) unit that advanced to the conference tournament semifinals. The Crusaders return all-conference performers Kyle Fenner and Paul Goding, who were two of the Crusaders five selections. Fenner was named to the second-team, while Goding earned a spot on the third team. Both players went on to earn third-team all-region honors.

Queens finished fourth in the poll with Pfeiffer fifth followed by Anderson, St. Andrews, Coker, Erskine, Mount Olive and Barton respectively rounding-out the poll standings.

Conference Carolinas Men's Soccer Preseason Poll (# of First Place Votes in Parenthesis)
1. Limestone (4) 92
2. Lees-McRae (6) 91
3. Belmont Abbey 81
4. Queens (1) 76
5. Pfeiffer 61
6. Anderson 55
7. St. Andrews 46
8. Coker 35
10. Erskine 29
11. Mount Olive 21
12. Barton 18