CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Loras College, which won five consecutive Iowa Conference titles before a runner-up finish a year ago, is the coaches’ pick to win the 2012 Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) men’s soccer title. The Duhawks received five of seven possible first-place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own team) and were ranked second on the final two ballots, totaling 54 points in the IIAC Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Poll.
Defending IIAC champion Luther College picked up the three remaining first-place votes and is second in the coaches’ poll with 51 points. Wartburg College (39 points), the University of Dubuque (37 points) and Central College (36 points) rank third, fourth and fifth, respectively. The complete 2012 IIAC Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Poll follows:
|Rank||School (1st place votes)||Points||2011 Record|
|1||Loras (5)||54||17-3-3, 6-1-1 IIAC (19 pts.)|
|2||Luther (3)||51||17-3-3, 7-0-1 IIAC (22 pts.)|
|3||Wartburg||39||8-10-1, 4-4-0 IIAC (12 pts.)|
|4||Dubuque||37||12-5-2, 5-3-0 IIAC (15 pts.)|
|5||Central||36||10-8-1, 3-4-1 IIAC (10 pts.)|
|6||Simpson||28||8-10-1, 5-3-0 IIAC (15 pts.)|
|7||Coe||19||6-9-3, 2-5-1 IIAC (7 pts.)|
|8||Buena Vista||16||6-11-0, 2-6-0 IIAC (6 pts.)|
Iowa Conference Schedule: The season opens Friday, August 31 with five schools in action. The Iowa Conference schedule opens Saturday, September 22 with a complete schedule of four games – Buena Vista at Loras, Dubuque at Wartburg, Simpson at Coe and Luther at Central.
Preseason Polls: Two Iowa Conference schools have found their way into the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Poll – Loras is 15th and Luther 19th. The D3soccer.com Preseason Poll will be released later this month.
Conference Tournament: The top-six teams following the regular season round-robin schedule qualify for the 2012 Iowa Conference Tournament with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line. Two first-round matches will be Saturday, October 27. The semifinals will be held Wednesday, October 31, followed by the final on Saturday, November 3. All matches will be hosted by the higher seed.
|University of Dubuque Spartans
12-5-2 overall, 5-3-0 IIAC (15 pts.; tie-third)
Head Coach: Brad Johnson (4th season)
Record at School (yrs): 41-14-4 (3)
Career Record (yrs): same
IIAC Titles (last): 1 (2010)
IIAC Tourney Titles (last): n/a
Starters returning/lost – 7 / 4
Letterwinners returning/lost – 15 / 4
Returning All-IIAC/HM honorees
Dubuque returns seven starters and 15 letter winners from last season’s 12-5-2 team that tied for third in the Iowa Conference with 15 points and a 5-3-0 record. There are high expectations for the Spartans in 2012 as they return four all-IIAC players, including one of the league’s top offensive threats. Senior forward Nick McDonald, a three-time all-IIAC selection, led the team in scoring with 22 points on 10 goals and two assists. He also had three game-winning goals. In 2011, McDonald led all IIAC players in shots taken and tied for tops among league players in both points and goals. He scored four goals in league play to rank seventh in the league.
Holding down the midfield for UD will be senior Sam McKee and junior Cory Winkler. Winkler, a first team all-IIAC pick, was second on the team with 19 points on seven goals and five assists. Three of the goals were game-winners, including a pair in league play. He scored 10 points on four goals and two assists in IIAC games to tie for fourth in the league. McKee posted four assists in 17 games.
The Spartans, however, will benefit from the return of two-time first team all-IIAC midfielder Ryan Zurbuchen who missed the 2011 season after suffering an injury. Zurbuchen totaled nine points on three goals and three assists with one game-winner in 2010.
Dubuque head coach Brad Johnson says, “[We have] high expectations entering the 2012 season. The Spartans will look to an experienced class of returners and an eager class of newcomers to continue their successful ways. The incoming class for 2012 will no doubt be filled with young players looking to make a positive impact early in their collegiate career. This group will add a level of depth and determination that will help push the Spartans to new heights in 2012.