Soccer teams ranked 12th in NSCAA preseason
Women's season opener against MIT Aug. 30; men face Keene State Aug. 31
Coming off their most successful campaigns in decades, the Brandeis University men's and women's soccer teams have each been ranked 12th in the nation in Division III in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Preseason Top 25 poll.
The Brandeis women were ranked No. 8 at the end of the 2012 season after posting a 16-5-2 record. The Judges reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III tournament, finishing one win short of the first Final Four in program history.
The Judges return 10 of their 11 starters, including sophomore All-America forward Dara Spital who was fourth in Division III with eight game-winning goals.
The team is the top-ranked squad among five from New England in the top 25 (No. 15 MIT, No. 16 Wheaton, No. 20 Williams and No. 22 Middlebury) and fourth among five University Athletic Association squads (No. 2 Emory, No. 4 Washington University, No. 5 Carnegie Mellon and No. 15 University of Chicago).
Brandeis, which will be under Head Coach Denise Dallamora for the 34th season, will face No. 15 MIT at home in their season opener on Friday, Aug. 30, at 6 p.m.
The Brandeis men are up one spot from their final postseason ranking of No. 13 in 2013. The Judges were 18-3-1 last season, a campaign in which they earned a share of their first-ever UAA title and made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III tournament.
Coach Mike Coven enters his 41st season on the sidelines with eight of his 11 starters returning, including 2012 All-America forward and University Athletic Association Player of the Year Sam Ocel. Ocel had nine game-winning goals and returns for a "second senior" season after missing his sophomore campaign to injury.
The Judges are one of three New England teams in the Top 25, behind No. 3 Williams and No. 4 Amherst. Eighteenth-ranked Carnegie Mellon is the only other UAA team in the top 25, with the University of Rochester just outside of the rankings.
The Brandeis men open the 2013 season on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 at Keene State's Xara Classic, facing the host Owls and Rowan University. The Judges' first home game is Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. against MIT.