The Case Western Reserve University men's soccer team will go into the 2008 season ranked 22nd in the NCAA Division III preseason poll released by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. The announcement was made on the NSCAA Web site.
"It's nice to be ranked," said fifth-year coach Dan Palmer. "It [the ranking] indicates that we're going to be competitive this season. But we're more concerned with results than with rankings."
Case Western Reserve shares the ranking with two teams, Salisbury University and Transylvania University.
Palmer and the Spartans finished last season with a 12-5-1 overall record, posting the second most wins in a season in school history. However, the team failed to make the postseason after winning the University Athletic Association (UAA) title and playing in the NCAA Tournament in 2006.
Returning to the team this season are several NSCAA Great Lakes All-Region honorees, including first-team selections Kevin Bigart (Naperville, Ill.) and Matt Paglia (Pittsburgh, Pa.), and second-team pick Zeyad Schwen (Cincinnati, Ohio). Paglia was also named a NSCAA All-American with third-team honors.
"I think last year we all got caught up in the rankings a bit," Palmer said of the 2007 squad, which reached as high as second in the national poll. "But not this year. We all know what needs to be done."
The Spartans will open up the 2008 season August 30-31 at Case Field with the Case Western Reserve Tournament.
Including Case Western Reserve, there were four UAA teams ranked in this year's preseason poll. Washington University is the highest ranked team at six, University of Rochester is ranked tenth and Emory University is ranked 13th.
While the Case women's soccer team was not listed on the preseason poll, three other UAA teams were. Washington University, who won the UAA title last season (5-2) is ranked ninth, Emory University is ranked 14th and the University of Chicago is 24th.
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