Teams to begin season today

PHILIPPI – The Alderson Broaddus men’s soccer team was picked to finish fourth in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll released Aug. 21. ABU opens the season at 7 p.m. today against West Virginia Wesleyan College at the school’s new stadium.

Head coach Dan Kelly says his team has a lot of youth, but also solid veteran leadership. He said he has been preaching fitness and making sure players are physically ready for a grueling season.

“The camaraderie on the team is higher than ever and the young talent is boosting the older players to be even better, or lose their jobs,” Kelly said. “The team is excited for the season, and more ready than any team in five years. The talent pool is deep and competition at all positions is intense.”

The Battlers will return a veteran group of upperclassmen, including second team All-West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection Jose Noriega and honorable mention pick Jaron Hulme. This season, ABU added 10 freshmen to the squad and the coaching staff expects the class to provide depth and competition for the returners. The team finished last season 5-9.

Davis & Elkins College

The Senator men’s soccer team was tabbed the preseason favorite in the GMAC preseason Coaches’ Poll released Aug. 21. Davis & Elkins opens the 2013 season at Tiffin on Friday.

“The guys are excited, but we’ve got a long way to go to prove we are worthy,” coach Aron Bassoff said of the nomination. “We definitely have our work cut out for us. It’s not going to be easy because the other teams will be gunning for us.”

D&E is coming off a 14-4-2 season and a trip to the NCAA Atlantic Regional. The Senators return nine of 11 starters, including the First Team All-WVIAC duo of James Pucci and Dan Savory. Pucci, a junior forward, led the WVIAC in assists (15) and was tied for the top spot in goals (13). Savory scored one goal and was an integral part of a D&E defense that registered six shutouts. The Senators also return 2012 WVIAC Freshman of the Year, Oliver Bienias, who posted 11 goals and three assists in his rookie campaign.

Bassoff said the team has been taking advantage of the newly installed turf field on campus. The first home game on the field for the men’s team is set for 1 p.m. Sunday against East Stroudsburg.

“The new turf field has been fantastic,” Bassoff said.

“We’ve had some great practices. We even got to use it during a downpour because the drainage is terrific. It’s exactly what we hoped it would be.”

West Virginia Wesleyan

BUCKHANNON – The West Virginia Wesleyan men’s soccer team is predicted to finish in third in the first Mountain East Conference coaches’ preseason poll. The team opens its season today in Philippi against Alderson Broaddus.

Coach Gavin Donaldson said his squad would continue to play with the same fast-paced, aggressive style it used last season. Last year, the Bobcats their final WVIAC conference season with a 13-5-1 record.

“Obviously, we have a few holes to fill,” Donaldson said.

“However, we do have eight starters returning. We’ve got guys with a lot of experience and we’re looking for them to step up and make big plays. It’s going to take a lot of communication and organization to get our defense on the same page, but I think they will still make it tough for our opponents to score.”