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Wesleyan Holds Favorite's Role in WVIAC Men's Soccer Coaches' Poll

PRINCETON, WV July 20, 2007 2006 West Virginia Conference men's soccer regular season champion West Virginia Wesleyan is a solid favorite to capture the 2007 league title.  The Bobcats received six of nine first place votes in the poll of WVIAC head coaches.  Wheeling Jesuit captured a pair of first place votes and was second in the voting.  Third place Shepherd received the other nod for the top position.

Alderson-Broaddus, Davis & Elkins, and Seton Hill occupy the 4-5-6 spots in the preseason guesses.  Two-time defending WVIAC Tournament champion Salem International, Pitt Johnstown, Charleston, and Ohio Valley complete the balloting.

West Virginia Wesleyan (10-7-2, 5-1-1) returns 17 lettermen for veteran head coach Gavin Donaldson.  First team All-WVIAC midfielder Brandon Chagnard is the leading returning scorer for the Bobcats after tallying four goals and three assists in 2006.  The WVWC defense should be solid with second team all-conference picks back in goalkeeper George Rowley and defender Abe Levin-Nielsen.  Marc Farrell helps provide senior leadership in the midfield.

Wheeling Jesuit (9-7-3, 3-1-3) is always in the mix for the WVIAC crown and 2007 should be no exception.  Kyle Regan notched six goals for the Cards and earned first team All-WVIAC accolades at forward.  Brandon Regan was solid in goal with a 1.10 goals against average.  Kerdyn Moe and Jared Hooks anchor a solid midfield for WJU.

New coach Jonathan Thayil hopes to keep Shepherd (10-6-3, 4-1-2) in contention.  Senior defender/midfielder Leighton Meredith, a 2006 All-WVIAC pick, is a key to the Rams' hopes.  Sophomore Gregory Khan tallied four goals last season.  Sophomore Anthony Pino will should more of the load in goal after posting three shutouts and a 1.14 goals against average in 2006.

Alderson-Broaddus (7-7-3, 2-3-2) looks to contend behind juniors Eric Belcher, Greg Pickering, and Ryan Burr.

All-conference defender Makesi Bostic is part of an experienced side at Davis & Elkins (8-7-3, 3-2-2).  The Senators also expect strong efforts from seniors Michael Knox (midfielder) and Cole Johnson (forward).

Seton Hill (7-9-1) must replace seven starters, including all-region defender Daryl Ferguson, in their first season playing a full league schedule.  The Griffins are not eligible to win the WVIAC championship until next season when they achieve full NCAA Division II membership.  Seniors David Crawford (goalkeeper) and Jordan Wedel (midfielder) lead  SHU in 2007.

Salem International (10-8-1, 4-2-1) is the WVIAC's mystery squad.  The Tigers have won the past two conference tournament crowns, but are without a coach into mid-August.

Pitt Johnstown (8-8-2) has nine starters back, including their top five scorers, as the Mountain Cats hope to exceed expectations in the first official season in WVIAC play.  The trio of Chris Hawkins (12 G), Jason Swope (8 G), and Arik Misler (7 G) provide the offensive spark.  Sophomore Craig Neff had three shutouts in goal as a freshman.

Charleston (2-15-1, 1-5-1) hopes to bounce back from a sub-par 2006 showing.  The Golden Eagles welcome back eight starters, including seniors Adam Prestifilippo (forward) and Brent Wilson (goalkeeper).  

Ohio Valley (1-14-1, 0-7-0) has designs of climbing out of the WVIAC basement behind seniors Marwan Helal (midfielder), Adam Kennedy (midfielder), Justin Daugherty (defender), and Bill Bloom (goalkeeper).  Daugherty and Helal earned second All-WVIAC honors last season.

2007 WVIAC Men's Soccer Coaches' Poll:
1. West Virginia Wesleyan (6) 86
2. Wheeling Jesuit (2) 78
3. Shepherd (1) 68
4. Alderson-Broaddus 58
5. Davis & Elkins 53
6. Seton Hill 44
7. Salem International 41
8. Pitt Johnstown 26
9. Charleston 25
10. Ohio Valley 14

Note: Seton Hill is not eligible for the 2007 WVIAC men's soccer title.  SHU will play a full league schedule and all contests will count in the standings.  The Griffins will be eligible for the WVIAC championship upon reaching full NCAA Division II membership.
 


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