Melbourne, Fla. – Lynn University's men's soccer team has been chosen as the preseason favorite to win the 2017 Sunshine State Conference, as announced on Wednesday. The Fighting Knights received 97 votes, including eight first-place votes, in a poll selected by league coaches.
Last year, the Blue and White claimed both the SSC regular season and postseason titles, marking a conference-record fifth time Lynn has accomplished that feat. Since the conference tournament was reinstituted in 2003, only Rollins (2006) has won both crowns in the same season. Lynn enters the season with nine regular season and five tournament titles, also tops among conference institutions since it joined the league in 1998.
"This is a tremendous honor for Lynn University and shows the amount of respect coaches in the Sunshine State Conference have for our men's soccer program," said head coach John Rootes, who has won five regular season titles, three tournament crowns and two national championships since taking the helm of the program in 2008 . "Our team takes great pride in winning a league title, it's one of our goals every year, so hopefully Lynn will be fortunate enough to bring home another conference championship."
Palm Beach Atlantic University earned second with 87 total votes from league coaches. The University of Tampa garnered 78 total votes for a third place finish and received two first place votes. Rounding out the top five in the poll are Florida Tech and Barry University with 65 and 64 total votes, respectively. The final first place vote went to Eckerd College. The Tritons finished seventh in this year's voting.
Tampa, Lynn, Palm Beach Atlantic, and Florida Tech represent the SSC in the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division II preseason men's poll. The ranking was announced Thursday, August 3rd.
Lynn has the pieces in place to build off the 14-2-2 overall and 7-1-1 SSC record from a year ago. The Fighting Knights return nine starters including All-American forward and SSC and South Region Player of the Year Jack Watson, All-American defender Niklas Tasky and all-region midfielder Alun Webb and goalkeeper Alexander Roth.
The Blue and White open the 2017 season Friday, Sept. 1, against Auburn Montgomery at the Rinker Athletic Complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., before squaring-off against Alabama Huntsville in the home opener on Sunday, Sept. 3, at 6 p.m. Fans can watch all season long on the Lynn Sports Network.