CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA - The University of Dubuque Men's Soccer team was chosen to finish third in the IIAC Coaches Preseason Poll. The Spartans return eight starters and 15 letter winners from last season's 11-6-1 team that finished second in the Iowa Conference with 15 points and a 5-2-0 record.
Loras College, which has won five of the last six Iowa Conference titles and advanced to the national semifinals of the 2012 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship, is the coaches' pick to win the 2013 Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) men's soccer title. The Duhawks received the maximum seven possible first-place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own team) totaling 56 points in the IIAC Men's Soccer Coaches' Poll.
Luther College picked up the remaining first-place vote along with four second-place votes and ranks second with 47 points. The University of Dubuque received three second-place votes and sits third with 39 points, just ahead of Central College (36 points). Wartburg College (35) and Simpson College (32) rank fifth and sixth, respectively.
The complete 2013 IIAC Men's Soccer Coaches' Poll follows:
|Rank||School (1st Place votes)||Points||2012 Record|
|1||Loras (7)||56||23-2-1, 7-0-0 IIAC|
|2||Luther (1)||47||10-5-3, 4-3-0 IIAC|
|3||Dubuque||39||11-6-1, 5-2-0 IIAC|
|4||Central||36||8-10-3, 3-4-0 IIAC|
|5||Wartburg||35||7-9-2, 3-3-1 IIAC|
|6||Simpson||32||13-8-1, 3-3-1 IIAC|
|7||Buena Vista||17||5-11-1, 0-7-0 IIAC|
|7||Coe||17||5-12-1, 2-5-0 IIAC|
Gone from last year is 21-goal scorer and 2012 IIAC scoring champion Nick McDonald, but the Spartans return two-time all-conference selection Cory Winkler (Lakeville, Minn./Apple Valley) up front. Winkler, a senior midfielder, ranked second on the team in scoring last season with 21 points on nine goals – including three game-winners – and three assists. Among league players, he ranked third in shots per game (3.29), points per game (1.24) and goals per game (0.53), fourth in shots (56), goals and game-winning goals and fifth in points. Winkler posted a league-high with seven points (three goals, one assist) against Bethel (Minn.). He will be supported by sophomore midfielder Brayden Prothero (Ewa Beach, Hawaii/Kamehameha). Prothero registered three points on a goal and an assist.
Junior defender Peter Hager (Maple Grove, Minn./Osseo), a two-time all-IIAC second-teamer, will hold down the back line for the Spartans, who limited opponents to 23 goals last season, including nine in league play.
The Spartans will also benefit from the return of starting goalkeeper Jake O'Rourke (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gormon), who occupied the net for all but 19 minutes, 48 seconds last season, accumulating an 11-6-1 record with a 1.20 goals-against average, 64 saves, a .744 save percentage and four shutouts. He ranked third among league netminders in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts and was fourth in saves.
Dubuque head coach Brad Johnson says, "There are high expectations for the University of Dubuque men's soccer program entering the 2013 season. The Spartans will look to an experienced class of returners and an eager class of newcomers to continue our successful ways. The Iowa Conference will once again be very competitive and we are excited to get started."