FLORENCE, Ky. – The University of Rio Grande was named the preseason favorite in the 2015 Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll released Friday by the conference office.
The RedStorm has many of its top players returning from last year’s team which finished 16-2-2 (3-1 KIAC), won the KIAC Tournament and spent much of the season ranked No. 1 in the NAIA Top 25.
Head coach Scott Morrissey’s club received five of the seven first-place votes and totaled 35 points in the poll.
Point Park (Pa.) University was picked second after garnering 31 points in the poll and the other two remaining first-place votes. The Pioneers went 15-3 overall last year and captured the KIAC Regular Season championship with a 4-0 KIAC record. They lost to Rio Grande, 3-2, in the KIAC Tournament finals in a game played at Asbury (Ky.).
West Virginia Tech is a new KIAC member this year and is picked third with 26 points. The Golden Bears were 17-1-1 last year and the won their second-consecutive national championship in the USCAA. WVU Tech was formerly an NAIA independent institution before this year.
Asbury (Ky.) University was picked fourth this preseason and is coming off a nine-win season and a trip to the KIAC Tournament semifinals in 2014. The Eagles earned 22 points in the voting.
The rest of the preseason poll had Cincinnati Christian (8-11 in 2014) in fifth place with 12 points, conference newcomer Ohio Christian (14-9) in sixth with 11 points and Brescia (Ky.) (4-14) in seventh with 10 points. Ohio Christian is new to the NAIA but is coming off a national runner-up season in the NCCAA last year.
The 2015 KIAC men’s soccer season begins Aug. 22. Every KIAC team plays each other once in the regular season, and the top six teams in the standings qualify for the KIAC Tournament Nov. 7-14. The higher seed in each playoff matchup will serve as the host team for each game all the way through to the finals.
The KIAC Tournament champion will receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship beginning Nov. 21 with the Opening Round and continuing with the final site Nov. 30-Dec. 5 at Delray Beach, Fla.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.