Releases
For Immediate Release: August 17, 2004
Contact: Name David O'Brian (dobrian@binghamton.edu)
Phone: 607-777-6478

Binghamton picked first in America East Conference men's soccer preseason poll; women's team picked eighth

America East Conference Men's Release
America East Conference Women's Release

VESTAL, N.Y.--For the first time in its three years in the America East Conference, a Binghamton team has been picked to finish first in a preseason conference poll. The men's soccer team, which won last season's America East Conference championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, is the preseason favorite to repeat as champions. The voting was done by the 10 head coaches in the conference.

"We are excited to start the season off by being recognized for our past accomplishments," head coach Paul Marco said. "Although this is a great honor we are focusing on where we wind up at the end of the season."

The Bearcats received 75 points, including six of the 10 first-place votes (coaches could not vote for their own school). UMBC, which finished first in the conference during the 2003 regular season, was second with 72 points and three first-place votes. Boston was third with 65 points and received the remaining first-place vote.

Binghamton returns 17 letterwinners, including eight starters, from last year's squad. Junior goalkeeper Stefan Gonet (Refrewshire, Scotland) and junior back Graham Munro (Inverness, Scotland), both of whom were named first-team all-conference, return to anchor a defense that led the nation in shutouts (16) and fewest goals allowed (nine) in 2003.

Up front, senior forward Stephen Bruce (Buckie, Scotland) and senior midfielder Charles Darkwah (Toronto, Ontario), both of whom were named second team all-conference last season, are among top returning goal scorers. Junior midfielder Danilo (Sao Paulo, Brazil), who was also named second-team all-conference, has been the vital link between the backfield and forwards.

Binghamton has already received preseason accolades from College Soccer News, which ranked the team No. 22 in its NCAA Division I preseason poll. The preseason Adidas/NSCAA poll, which has yet to be released, ranked the Bearcats No. 26 in its final 2003 poll

The women's team, meanwhile, was picked to place eighth in the America East Conference women's preseason poll. The Bearcats finished the voting with 30 points, ahead of Vermont (20) and Albany (nine). Stony Brook (37 points) and UMBC (36) were picked sixth and seventh respectively. Boston University was the overwhelming choice to win the conference with 81 points, including nine of the 10 first-place votes.

Last season, the Bearcats finished 9-8-2 and just missed qualifying for the America East Conference Tournament. This year, Binghamton returns nine starters, including senior back Tatiana Mathelier (Pomona, N.Y.), who was named all-conference last season.

Both Bearcat teams will take part in the Third Annual Nice 'N Easy/ Coca Cola Collegiate Soccer Preview on Friday afternoon with a doubleheader against Colgate. The women's game starts at 3:45 p.m. while the men kick off at 5:30 p.m. Each game will take place at the David L. Emerson Soccer Farm in Oxford, N.Y.
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