LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – In a vote by the league's head coaches, Trinity University was unanimously selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2017 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) men's soccer championship.
Trinity picked up all eight first-place votes to total 64 points in the preseason polling. Last season, the Tigers finished 22-2 (13-1 in the SCAC) as the program earned its fifth-straight conference tournament crown with a thrilling 2-1 double-overtime victory over Colorado College in the 2016 SCAC championship final.
With its 15th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance secured, Trinity advanced to the round of 16, falling to Kenyon College.
Led by 27th-year head coach Paul McGinlay, the Tigers return seven starters from the 2016 campaign and enter this season preseason ranked No. 12 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
Colorado College was a near unanimous selection at second place, receiving seven of eight runner-up votes for 55 points. The Tigers finished the 2016 campaign with an overall mark of 16-3-1 (12-2 in the SCAC). After a second-place regular season finish, Colorado College advanced to the SCAC tournament final for the third consecutive year before falling to Trinity.
Multiple starters return for head coach Scott Palguta, who is now in his third year as the Tigers' head man.
After a 7-7 finish in conference action last season, Southwestern came in as the third choice in the preseason rankings with 42 points. The Pirates posted a record of 8-12 overall under the leadership of Head coach Don Gregory. Southwestern returns the top four point-scorers from 2016, including Jake Swonke who led the Pirates with five goals and four assists.
Texas Lutheran was the coaches' fourth choice, coming in with 40 total points in the preseason balloting. Led by 12th-year head coach Eddie Salazar, the Bulldogs have made four consecutive trips to the SCAC tournament semifinals - losing to Colorado College. TLU tied for third place during the SCAC regular season a year ago with a conference mark of 7-7 (7-12-1 overall). The Bulldogs highlighted the regular season with a win over top-ranked Trinity.
Austin College came in just behind the Bulldogs at fifth, totaling 37 points in the coaches’ poll. The ‘Roos posted their first season above .500 in more than 10 years in 2016, finishing 10-9-2 overall and 6-7-1 in league action. Austin College returns the top five point scorers from last season, including the conference’s scoring leader, Phillip Le. Head Coach Mark Hudson is in his 11th season with the ‘Roos.
The University of Dallas finished sixth in the preseason coaches' rankings with 24 points. With a 2016 conference mark of 4-8-2 (7-9-3 overall), the Crusaders will return three of the top five scorers from last season. Head coach David Hoffmann is in his 15th season with the Crusaders.
Schreiner University (3-15-2 overall; 2-11-1 SCAC) was selected to finish seventh in the preseason rankings, garnering 16 points. The Mountaineers return all but two of the goal-scorers from the 2016 campaign. Head coach Paul Hayes is in his 15th season at the helm of the Schreiner program.
Centenary College rounds out the coaches' preseason rankings. The Gents, who finished the 2016 season with an overall mark of 7-12 (3-11 SCAC) are led by Head Coach Kyle Symczak in his second year with the team. The seven wins last season is the most for the team since the 2011 season.
2017 SCAC Predicted Order of Finish
1. Trinity University - 64 points (8)
2. Colorado College - 55 points
3. Southwestern University - 42 points
4. Texas Lutheran University - 40 points
5. Austin College – 37 points
6. University of Dallas - 24 points
7. Schreiner University - 16 points
8. Centenary College - 10 points
(Eight points were awarded for a first-place vote, seven points for a second-place, down to one point for an eighth-place vote. First-place votes in parenthesis.)