EMMITSBURG, Md. - The Mount St. Mary's men's soccer team has been tabbed to finish fifth according to the Northeast Conference (NEC) Preseason Coaches Poll, announced on Wednesday.
Monmouth, who is the two-time defending NEC Tournament champion winners of the last six NEC regular season crowns, was selected as the unanimous preseason favorite. Fairleigh Dickinson, Sacred Heart and Saint Francis (Pa.) were picked 2-3-4 while the Mount ended in a fifth-place tie with Long Island. Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, St. Francis (N.Y.), Central Connecticut State and Bryant rounded out the 11-team poll.
The Mount is led by senior Chris Wheeler (Newcastle, Australia/St. Francis Xavier), who paced the league in goals (13), goals per game (0.72), shots (80) and shots per game (4.44) while also ranking second in points (28) and points per game (1.56). In the nation, Wheeler was sixth in goals, 10th in goals per game, 11th in points and 15th in points per game. The senior was named to the NSCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Region first team and earned his third all-conference selection, including his second-straight first-team nod in 2010.
Junior Alex Ockford (Yardley, Pa./Pennsbury) posting three goals and two assists for eight points while sophomore Patrick Wheeler (Newcastle, Australia/St. Francis Xavier) dished out three assists for three points in 2010.
The squad lost six players from the 2010 team including All-NEC first-team selection Eric Detzel and starting goalkeeper Chris Davis. Junior Peter Steve (Dallas, Pa./Dallas) posted six saves, a 2.90 goals against average and a .500 save percentage in two starts last season.
The top four teams advance to the NEC Tournament hosted by the regular season champion on Nov. 11 and 13.
Mount St. Mary's opens the 2011 season at UMBC on Aug. 27. Match time is 7 p.m.