The Hampden-Sydney Soccer team was picked to finish sixth in the ODAC Preseason Poll as voted on by league coaches.
While the Tigers only have one senior on the roster in Hunter Weiland, the squad has 19 returners dotting the 29-man roster, including 14 student-athletes who either started at least five games or played in at least eight games in 2017.
Leading the way offensively is Weiland, who tied for the team-high in points with 12 courtesy of four goals and four assists. Jacob Mann also posted 12 points on four goals and four assists. Josh McCormack contributed eight points via three scores and two assists, and Connor Shaw tallied three goals and an assist.
Eli Strong, a defender, proved to be adept at finishing, particularly on corner kicks, as he scored three goals and assisted on another. Additionally, Spell Carr tied for the team lead in assists with four to go with a goal while PJ LeBel contributed two scores and an assist.
The Tigers return the bulk of their defensive midfield and backs from last year, losing just two starters to graduation. Strong also proved to be one of the top defenders on the team last year as he started all 18 games, extending his starting streak to 34 games. Cole Burton is back in the mix after starting all 17 games he played in a season ago. He contributed a game-winning goal again with less than three minutes to play against Guilford and tacked on an assist.
Sean McMurray played in 16 games while starting eight, splitting time in the midfield and on defense. Brian Tarnai returns after starting 11 of 14 games in 2017. The top two goalkeepers from last year also return in Gray Sutter and Ian Connor. Sutter played in 11 games while starting 10 for 946 minutes. He posted a goals against average of just 0.86 with an 80.9% save percentage and three shutouts. Connor made eight appearances with seven starts and 628 minutes of action. He sported a 2.01 goals against average with a 70.2% save percentage.
The Tigers play this evening at 5 pm vs. Roanoke College in a scrimmage on Hellmuth-Gibson Field. H-SC starts the regular season on Friday, August 31 with a 2:30 pm game against Johns Hopkins on the campus of the University of Mary Washington. The first home match takes place on Tuesday, September 4 at 7 pm.
|2018 ODAC Men's Soccer Preseason Poll|
|(#) Denotes First Place Votes|
|1. University of Lynchburg (9)||140 pts.|
|2. Washington and Lee University (3)||128 pts.|
|3. Roanoke College (1)||122 pts.|
|4. Randolph-Macon College||105 pts.|
|5. Virginia Wesleyan University||89 pts.|
|6. Hampden-Sydney College||86 pts.|
|7. Bridgewater College||77 pts.|
|8. Eastern Mennonite University||73 pts.|
|9. Randolph College||58 pts.|
|10. Ferrum College||54 pts.|
|11. Guilford College||33 pts.|
|12. Shenandoah University||30 pts.|
|13. Emory & Henry College||19 pts.|