Coming off of its first conference championship in nearly two decades, Pacific Lutheran enters the 2012 season ranked No. 25 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Division III Men's Soccer National Preseason Poll.
The poll (to view, click here), released by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, shows defending national champion Ohio Wesleyan at the top. Pacific Lutheran, which earned a national tournament berth before finishing with a 15-4 overall record last season, is the only Northwest Conference team in the top 25.
"I see this as the result of the body of work from the last few years, and what we did last year especially," PLU head coach John Yorke said of the national ranking. "It's good for the program, good to be recognized.
"Now we need to go out and earn it," he said.
Perhaps the biggest key to the 2012 season is finding players who will help fill some of the gap left by a trio of record setters: forward Spencer Augustin, the 2011 NWC Offensive Player of the Year, earned second team All-America honors after scoring 19 goals; forward Chad Kearns a three-time first team all-conference selection who ranks third in career points and goals; and midfielder Surafel Wodajo, the PLU men's soccer career assist leader.
The Lutes open their fall camp this coming Friday, Aug. 17, host the annual Alumni game on the new field turf playing surface on Aug. 19, and then open their official season on Aug. 31 with a game at Hamline in St. Paul, Minn.
- PLU -