The Lipscomb Bisons soccer team got its first taste of the Atlantic Sun Tournament last season and they want to go back for more.
The Bisons advanced to the semifinals last season, beating Belmont 1-0 in the quarterfinals and losing to Jacksonville 3-2.
Six teams qualify for the conference tournament each season. According to a poll of the conference coaches, the Bisons should return again. They were picked to finish seventh by the coaches, but were only one point behind Belmont in sixth place and two points behind Florida Gulf Coast in fourth place.
“We have some teams that might have one more special player than your average team in the conference. But on any given night any team in the conference can win. You could take a pick between five or six teams that could possibly win the conference. That makes things exciting.”
The Bisons have lost nine players from last season’s team, including six starters.
“We lost a lot of players in terms of leadership, but from what we lost from a position standpoint we are setting pretty good,” said Lipscomb coach Charles Morrow. “Up the middle we lost a forward in Ben Page and goalkeeper Jake Goergen. Other than those two positions we are somewhat intact in the middle of the field. Only losing two players from the spine of the team is huge for us.”
Morrow has welcomed more than 25 newcomers for preseason practice.
Campbell was picked to win the regular season with seven first place votes. Jacksonville was tabbed second followed by Stetson in third and North Florida in fourth.
Florida Gulf Coast and North Florida are both ineligible for the tournament as they continue to make the transition to NCAA Division I.
Lipscomb sophomore forward Miguel DaSilva was named to the 2008 Preseason All-Conference Team.
DaSilva set a school record with 10 goals last season. He was a member of the 2007 A-Sun All-Freshman Team and was also Second Team All-Conference. He was also named to the A-Sun All-Tournament Team.
“Having Miguel back adds a lot to our team,” Morrow said. “He feels slighted after last season in terms of honors. When you look at his statistics he had 10 goals as a freshman. If he had taken his own penalty kicks and made them he would have had 15 goals. And 15 goals as a freshman would have been big.”
DaSilva spent the summer playing for the Carolina Dynamo.
“We like to use Miguel to stretch defenses because of his pace and quickness,” Morrow said. “If we can get him one-on-one with a defender 80 percent of the time he is going to get by that defender. You have to defend Miguel with numbers.
“He worked this summer becoming more consistent striking the ball. We expect a big year out of him.”
|2008 Men's Soccer A-Sun Preseason Coaches Poll|
|#||School (1st Place Vote)||Points|
|5.||Florida Gulf Coast
Tournament Champion: Jacksonville
|2008 A-Sun Men's Soccer Preseason All-Conference Team|
|GK||Aaron Johnson (Sr.)||Campbell
||Robert Hodge (Jr.)||Stetson|
||Stephen Oyuga (Sr.)||Campbell|
|D||Miguel Rodrigues (So.)||Stetson|
|MF||Richard Jata (Sr.)||Campbell|
||Kirk Labusch (Sr.)||Stetson
||Josue Soto (So.)||Campbell|
Miguel DaSilva (So.)
|F||Akil DeFreitas (So.)||UNF
|F||Eugene Starikov (So.)||Stetson
|F||Tony Taylor (So.)||Jacksonville|
Preseason Player of the Year: Richard Jata, Midfielder, Campbell