CLEVELAND, OHIO — The Hiram College men’s soccer team was picked to finish third in the 2010 North Coast Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches Poll that was released earlier today (Monday, Aug. 23). [NCAC Preseason Poll]
Hiram totaled 59 points to rank third overall of nine teams. Ohio Wesleyan University was tabbed as the preseason favorite with 79 points and seven of nine first place votes. Kenyon College was second with 72 points and one first place vote. Defending NCAC Tournament Champion Denison University was picked fourth with 55 points. Wabash (Ind.) College received the other first-place vote and was ranked seventh overall in the poll with 32 points.
The Terriers posted a season mark of 10-7-2 in 2009 and finished in fourth place in the NCAC with a record of 4-3-2. Hiram’s 10 victories was the third straight season that the Terriers finished with 10 or more wins.
In 2010, Hiram will have another experience squad with 18 returning letterwinners and seven starters.
“Our goal has always been to raise expectations,” said seventh-year Head Coach Carl Capellas. “Not only within in our team, but also the entire Hiram community and the program over all.”
This fall, Hiram will be led offensively by seniors Petar Knezevic (Akron/ Ellet) and Cole Miller (Berlin/Hiland). Knezevic started 16 of the 18 games he played and led the team in six statistical categories including goals (10), points (24), shots (49), shot percentage (.204), shots on goal (25) and game winning goals (five). He was one of four players in the NCAC to score 10 or more goals and following the season, Knezevic earned second-team All-Conference accolades for the second straight year. Miller had another strong season in 2009 finishing in tie for fifth on the team in goals scored with three. He also tallied a pair of assists to end the season with eight points.
Also back for the Terriers in 2010 will be sophomore All-NCAC midfielder Ryan Greenhill, 2009 NCAC Newcomer of the Year and defender Mike Verdile (Strongsville) and senior goaltender Joe Tatum (Georgetown, Cayman Islands/St. George’s School). Greenhill made an impact last season as a freshman scoring a team-leading 10 assists and started all 19 games. His 10 assists ranked second highest in the NCAC and led all freshmen nationally. Verdile started all 19 games last season and helped anchor a defense that allowed just 1.13 goals per game and posted a combined six shutout victories. Tatum ended the 2009 season with a 10-7-2 record and five shutout victories. He played in all 19 games and started 18 allowing just 21 goals (1.14 goals against average) while making 79 saves with a 79.0 save percentage.
The 2010 schedule features some of the toughest opponents yet for Hiram highlighted by four teams that qualified for the NCAA Divsion III Tournament last season. Amongst those four teams include Calvin (Mich.) College who advanced to the NCAA Division III title game. The Terriers will host three of the four teams, including Calvin on Sept. 18, and NCAC Champion Ohio Wesleyan University on Oct. 16. Hiram opens the season on Wednesday, Sept. 1 at Case in University Circle. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, please contact Hiram College Sports Information Director Jeff Hoedt by phone at (330) 569-5495, by FAX at (330) 569-5392 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.