Monmouth Men's Soccer Appears In Preseason NSCAA Poll
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West Long Branch, NJ -- The seven-time defending Northeast Conference Champion Monmouth University men's soccer team opens the 2012 season receiving votes in the NSCAA/Continental Tire National Rankings, the organization has announced. A fixture in the national polls over the last several years, the Hawks feature a strong cast of returning players to go along with a highly-talented recruiting class.
"It is nice to get some early national recognition," said Monmouth Head Coach Robert McCourt. "Last year's team had another outstanding season. We are excited about getting our current group of young men on the field. This year's team has a lot of potential. I look forward to this season's journey with the 2012 team."
The 2011 team won a share of its seventh-straight NEC Regular Season title, took the NEC Tournament Championship for the third-consecutive year and hosted an NCAA Tournament First Round game on The Great Lawn for the third-straight year. Monmouth advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round, giving nationally-ranked No. 5 Connecticut all it could handle in a 2-1 loss in Storrs, Conn.
Leading the team in 2012 will be captains Ryan Clark (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township), Alex Blackburn (Natick, Mass./Natick) and Joseph Schmid (Kingston, Pa./Wyoming Valley West). Clark is a three-time All-NEC and All-Region selection in the midfield, while Blackburn and the Hawks' defense posted the fifth-best shutout percentage (.590) in the nation last season. Blackburn was also 10th in the nation in goals-against average (.614). In his first season with the Hawks, Schmid became a leader in the Hawks' midfield, finishing second on the team in goals (3) and third in both assists (5) and points (11).
The Hawks open the 2012 season on August 24, when they travel to Towson for a 5 p.m. start. Monmouth's home opener is scheduled for August 27 against Providence under the lights on The Great Lawn at 7 p.m.
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