Soccer Men Land At No. 9 In ODAC Poll

The Royals built a work ethic in the preseason which they expect will carry them during the year.
The Royals built a work ethic in the preseason which they expect will carry them during the year.

The Eastern Mennonite University soccer men were expecting some work to return to the ODAC Tournament this year, and the ODAC coaches agree.  The Royals today were picked for No. 9 in the ODAC Men's Soccer Preseason Poll.  The top eight teams at the end of the regular season qualify for the postseason tournament.

EMU received 39 points in the vote, one spot behind rival Bridgewater, which was eighth with 55 points.  The men edged Randolph-Macon by a single point, as the Yellow Jackets were tenth with 38 tallies.  Tournament champion Virginia Wesleyan received eight of 12 first-place votes and was named the preseason favorite with 115 points.  In a show of the ODAC's balance in men's soccer, three other teams earned at least one first-place vote and Lynchburg, which earned 105 points to land at No. 2, didn't get a single first-place nod.

The Royals finished 3-8 in the conference last fall and missed the ODAC Tournament by one win.

Senior defender Joao Downs (Limon, Costa Rica/Colegio de Limon Diurno) returns for a final season.  He was named All-ODAC and All-State First Team last year and was second on the team with three goals.  Senior midfielder Mark Mast (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite), who was All-ODAC Third Team in 2012, brings back his three goals and four assists.

Eastern Mennonite opens the season this weekend at the UMW Soccer Classic in Fredericksburg, Va.  The men take on host Mary Washington Friday at 2:30pm, followed by Marymount Saturday at 5:00pm.

Click here to see the entire 2014 EMU men's soccer schedule.

For more information, visit any of the participating schools' websites or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at  Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter.

(#) Denotes first place votes

1. Virginia Wesleyan (8)

115 pts.

2. Lynchburg

105 pts.

3. Roanoke (2)

98 pts.

4. Randolph (1)

93 pts.

5. Washington and Lee (1)

91 pts.

6. Hampden-Sydney

68 pts.

7. Guilford

57 pts.

8. Bridgewater

55 pts.

9. Eastern Mennonite

39 pts.

10. Randolph-Macon

38 pts.

11. Emory & Henry

17 pts.

12. Shenandoah

16 pts.