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Monarchs Favored To Repeat As CAA Champions

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: August 13, 2008
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Aug. 13, 2008

RICHMOND, Va. (August 13, 2008) - Old Dominion, which returns eight starters from last season's 14-7-3 squad that captured its first CAA men's soccer title since 1991, has been picked to repeat as conference champion in 2008 according to a vote of the league's 12 men's soccer coaches.

The Monarchs received eight first-place votes and 118 total points to earn the top spot in the poll, while VCU received three first-place votes and was chosen second with 109 points. Drexel, which shared the CAA regular-season title in 2007, finished third in balloting, followed closely by Hofstra, which received one first-place vote, and Towson, which advanced to last year's CAA championship game. James Madison was picked sixth in the poll, followed by William & Mary, George Mason, Northeastern, UNC Wilmington, Delaware and Georgia State.

ODU is riding a streak of six straight appearances in the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship and has advanced to the round of 16 for the past two years. Back to lead the Monarchs are senior midfielder Trevor Banks, who scored a team-high six goals and earned 1st team All-CAA honors last season, junior goalkeeper Evan Newton, a 2nd team All-CAA pick who posted a 0.63 GAA with 11 shutouts a year ago, and junior forward Ambane Emmanuel, who made the All-CAA third team after netting five goals, along with junior midfielder Nane Joseph who scored two goals with three assists.

VCU returns seven starters, including three all-conference standouts, from last season's 12-6-2 team that finished tied for third in the CAA. Senior back Gerson Dos Santos earned 1st team All-CAA accolades in 2007 after contributing seven goals and two assists. He will be joined on the Rams' defense by 2nd team All-CAA picks Dirk Dittrich and Jorit Loehr (7 goals, 3 assists). Senior goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra recorded a 0.90 GAA a year ago and posted five shutouts.

Drexel was the league's biggest surprise in 2007, earning a share of the CAA regular-season title for the first time with an 8-2-1 mark after being picked to finish 11th in the pre-season poll. Senior defender Bryan Ruff, a first-team all-conference selection, returns along with 2nd team All-CAA midfielder Fabio Assumpcao, and 3rd team All-CAA selections Anthony Bafile (6 goals, 6 assists), Pat McCaffery and goalkeeper Cory Robertson (0.54 GAA, 8 shutouts).

Hofstra welcomes back a trio of 2nd team all-conference selections, including high-scoring forward Johannes Grahn (10 goals), while Towson returns 3rd team All-CAA picks Cesar Cisneros (5 goals, 6 assists) and Scott Horta from last year's squad that advanced to the CAA title game for the first time.

Traditionally regarded as one of the top men's soccer conferences in the nation, the CAA has sent multiple teams to the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship in 11 of the 13 past seasons and has had at least one team advance to the final 16 of the NCAA's in five of the last six years.

ODU will play an exhibition match against American Wednesday night at 6:30.

2008 CAA MEN'S SOCCER PRE-SEASON COACHES POLL

1. ODU (8 first place votes 118 2. VCU (3 first place votes 109 3. Drexel 86 4. Hofstra (1 first place vote) 84 5. Towson 83 6. JMU 65 7. William and Mary 62 8. George Mason 59 9. Northeastern 53 10. UNCW 32 11. Delaware 30 12. Georgia State 11 (Teams received 11 points for first place votes, 10 for second,etc. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.

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