Lofty goals

The Davis &?Elkins College Soccer team may be playing in a new conference and on a new turf field this season but the expectations remain the same.

Coming off their first NCAA tournament appearance in 25 years, the Senators are picked by the coaches to capture the Great Midwest Athletic Conference title.

D&E, which was 14-4-2 last season, finished with four first-place votes, just ahead of Cedarville University, Trevecca Nazarene University and Alderson Broaddus University.

Cedarville and Trevecca received the other first-place votes.

Salem International University, Kentucky Wesleyan and Ohio Valley University round out the poll.

D&E, ABU and Ohio Valley all are newcomers to the G-MAC this season after the break-up of the West Virginia Conference, along with Salem University, which was a past member of the WVIAC.

Leading goal scorer James Pucci will return to lead the Senators this fall. He scored 13 goals and added a nation-best 15 assists in 2012 as a sophomore.

WVIAC Freshmen of the Year Oliver Bienias, who had 11 goals and three assists last season, also is back.

The Battlers, meanwhile, look to regroup form a 5-9 campaign. Second-team All-WVIAC selection Jose Noreiga and defenseman Jaron Hulme are returnees.

Cedarville went 17-4-1 last fall, including a 3-0 setback at D&E. The Yellow Jackets will return all-G-MAC performers Timmy Waller and Dillon King.

D&E will open the season Sept. 6 at Tiffin University, while ABU begins the campaign a day earlier at home against old rival West Virginia Wesleyan.