St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 11, 2014 – The Washington University in St. Louis men's soccer team begins the season ranked tied for No. 24 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Preseason Ranking, as announced by the NSCAA.
The Bears are coming off a 10-4-3 record in 2013, and return 11 players with starting experience from last year's squad. Head coach Joe Clarke enters his 18th season at the helm of Washington U.'s program with a 197-88-37 record on the Danforth Campus and a 402-162-67 mark in 31 seasons as a collegiate coach.
"We are very excited about the coming season," Clarke said. "This is one of the youngest teams I have ever coached. There are so many opportunities for the players as well as the coaches. For us as a coaching staff, we get to shape players who will be with us for several years going forward."
Washington U. has just seven juniors and seniors on its roster for the 2014 season. Sophomore defender Kevin Goon leads the way for a talented sophomore class, returning after starting 14 of 15 matches played and earning all-University Athletic Association (UAA) honorable mention honors as a freshman. Sophomore midfielder Grant Baltes and junior defender Cole Davis also return with significant starting experience from a year ago. Baltes played in all 17 matches in his rookie season, starting 16, while Davis started in 15 of 16 matches played in 2013.
Offensively, sophomore forward/midfielder Jake Shapiro and senior midfielder Jonathan Lipsey lead the way for the Bears' returners. Shapiro started eight of 17 matches played, scoring five goals and one assist to finish third on the team with 11 points in his first collegiate season. Lipsey was fourth on the team with 10 points on four goals and two assists, while starting 11 of 17 matches played in 2013.
Messiah College and Rutgers University-Camden begin the 2014 season No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the NCAA Division III rankings after playing in the national championship last season. The Bears are slated to play five teams ranked in the preseason poll – No. 5 Trinity University (Texas), No. 13 University of Rochester, No. 15 Wheaton College (Ill.), No. 17 Brandeis University and No. 18 Carnegie Mellon University. In addition, WUSTL will square off against Westminster College (Mo.), who was among the teams also receiving votes in the poll.
Washington University opens the 2014 season against Southwestern University (Texas) at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29, in San Antonio, Texas. The Bears then face No. 5 Trinity at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31.