THOMASVILLE, Ga. – Thomas University tops the 2015 Sun Conference men's soccer preseason poll announced on Tuesday by the league office. Last season, the Night Hawks finished the regular season in third before going on to win the Sun Conference tournament championship.
The Night Hawks received three first place votes and 74 total points from the coaches after finishing 15-2-3 overall and 7-2-1 in league play. Thomas advanced to the NAIA National Tournament but fell to St. Andrews in the opening round 2-1.
Co-Coach of the Year Ricky Zambrano returns ten of his 11 starters from last year's squad. Thomas will again look to NAIA All-American Honorable Mention Severin Abt, who led the team in goals with 11 and 27 points. Also returning are Donal Branagan and Lyle Gifford who were selected to the NAIA All-East Region Team.
SCAD, winners of the 2014 Sun Conference Regular Season championship, received four first place votes and 71 totals points to sit second in the poll. The Bees finished last season 11-3-4 and 9-0-1 in Sun Conference play, return eight players from last season including Third Team All-American Naim El-Harrati and a pair of NAIA Honorable Mention All-Americans in Fernando Zeledon and Jordan Trinci-Lyne.
The Lions of Florida Memorial gained two first place votes and 69 points to place third in the poll. Florida Memorial concluded 2014 at 12-6 overall and 8-2 in conference play, finishing as runners up in the league.
Keiser University, registered the final first place vote and 59 total points to place fourth in the poll. The Seahawks finished last season 9-5-3 overall and 6-2-2 in league play return 13 players from last season's team that defeated the number one team in the country during the opening round of the NAIA National Tournament. Keiser will again receive an automatic berth to the NAIA Final Site due to hosting the tournament.
Coming in fifth place in the poll is Southeastern with 49 total points and finishing last season with a 10-6-3 overall mark and a 4-4-2 TSC record. St. Thomas comes in at number six with 38 points, while Johnson & Wales received 31 and Warner University with 26. Webber International with 24 points and Ave Maria at nine rounds out the ten team preseason poll.
The Sun Conference Tournament is set to begin on November 3 with the quarterfinals played at the four highest seeds and then semifinals and finals at the highest remaining site on November 7-8.
2015 Sun Conference Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
Thomas- 74 (3)
SCAD Savannah- 71 (4)
Florida Memorial- 69 (2)
Keiser- 59 (1)
St. Thomas- 38
Johnson & Wales- 31
The Night Hawks now shift their focus to preparing for their season debut as they will open the 2015 campaign against the defending NAIA National Champion Davenport University. Thomas will square off against the Panthers in Lawrenceville, Ga., on Aug. 21 at 4:00 p.m. TU looks to also defend its back-to-back Sun Conference Tournament Champion title when they open conference play on the road against Florida Memorial on Sept. 25.
For up-to-date information on the upcoming men's soccer season and other TU Athletics, visit http://www.TUNightHawks.com. Stay up-to-date with news, scores, photos, game summaries, play-by-play, and feature stories of your TU men's soccer team by following them via Twitter at @NightHawksMSocc.