Campbell duo net preseason A-Sun honors

Vince Petrasso

From our good friend Stan Cole…

BUIES CREEK – Vince Petrasso, shown above, and Jason Keever have been named to the Atlantic Sun Conference men’s soccer pre-season all-conference team, while Campbell University is predicted to finish second in a poll of league head coaches released Thursday.

The 2009 poll marks the fourth-straight year that Coach Doug Hess’ squad has been chosen either first or second in the A-Sun voting. Campbell was on top of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 polls. The Camels won the A-Sun tournament title in 2007 and claimed last year’s regular season crown with a perfect 9-0-0 record.

Jacksonville, which rallied for a 4-3 win over Campbell in the 2008 A-Sun Championship final, was chosen as the league favorite with 92 points and six first-place votes. Campbell (85 points, 2 first place) was second, followed by Lipscomb (78) and Stetson (72), both of which were picked on top of one ballot each. Belmont (60), Florida Gulf Coast (55), East Tennessee State (36), North Florida (33), Mercer (22) and USC Upstate (17) rounded out the poll.

“It is always a great honor to be picked before the season starts by your fellow conference coaches to finish towards the top of the table, but this obviously doesn’t have much weight as to what happens through the year,” said Hess, who has guided the Camels to a 50-25-6 (.694) mark over the past four years as head coach. “The reality is that the games still need to be played and we will still need to show up on a daily basis and perform.”

The 2008 Camels became the first-ever A-Sun school to finish a men’s soccer season with a 9-0-0 regular season record. Despite a 4-3 loss to second-seeded Jacksonville in the A-Sun final at Buies Creek, Campbell earned its 12th conference final appearance since the Camels won their first Division I league title in the 1984 Big South tournament. Since joining the A-Sun in 1994, Campbell has reached the men’s soccer final five times.

Over the last four years, CU won two A-Sun regular season championships (2005, 2008), one A-Sun tournament title (2007), and made the school’s first appearance in the NCAA Division I College Cup (2007). In addition, CU led the conference in attendance for the third time in four seasons.

The Camels have been ranked in the South Region in each of the last four years and have compiled a 50-25-6 overall record (.654). The Camels also own the best A-Sun regular season record (25-4-4, .818) of all league members since the start of the 2005 season. In addition, the Camels received their first-ever, year-end national ranking (No. 25 by Soccer America) and finished third in the final South Region poll.

“We have been fortunate to be picked at or near the top each of the last four years, but it is important to remember that each year is unique—what happened last year has no bearing on wins this year, said Hess, now in his eighth year in charge of the program. “The 2009 men’s soccer team is a new group with new challenges that lie ahead and I can’t wait to see how it starts unfolding.”

A senior midfielder/forward from Woodbridge, Ontario, Petrasso was the lone A-Sun player named on each ballot for the pre-season all-conference squad. He was a first-team A-Sun all-conference performer in 2008 when he ranked fifth among league leaders in goals per game (0.47) and seventh in points per outing (1.13). He netted career highs of 17 points and seven goals over 15 contests. He finished fourth in the A-Sun with three game-winners.

Four of his goals and two assists came during his eight conference regular season appearances. Petrasso produced game-winning strikes in consecutive matches against Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast, while also providing the deciding goal at High Point.

Keever, a senior forward from Trinity, N.C., and Wesleyan Christian Academy, adds pre-season A-Sun recognition to his second-team all-conference honor of last year. He was one of five Camels to produce double-digit points in 2008. Keever scored six goals in 20 games (12 points) and notched winners against UNC Wilmington and North Florida. He ranked 10th among conference leaders in goals scored.

“I believe this recognition is a credit to Vince and Jason’s consistent performance over the last couple of years,” said Hess. “Both are dynamic attacking players with a bunch of college games under their belts. I know a lot will fall on their shoulders in the attack this year and I am certain they are up for the challenge.”

Lipscomb forward Miguel DaSilva, who led the league with 29 points on nine goals and 11 assists last season, was named the 2009 pre-season player of the year. Jacksonville and Lipscomb placed three players each on the pre-season all-conference unit, while Campbell and Stetson were represented twice each.

Campbell opens its pre-season schedule Saturday in a 7:00 p.m. kick-off at Coastal Carolina. The Camels host Elon on Tuesday (Aug. 25) in their final exhibition contest. Campbell opens the regular season Sept. 1 at defending Colonial Athletic Association regular season champ UNC Wilmington.

2009 Atlantic Sun Conference
Men’s Soccer Pre-season Poll

# School (1st place votes) Points
1. Jacksonville (6) 92
2. Campbell (2) 85
3. Lipscomb (1) 78
4. Stetson (1) 72
5. Belmont 60
6. Florida Gulf Coast 55
7. East Tennessee State 36
8. North Florida 33
9. Mercer 22
10. USC Upstate 17

Tournament Champ: Jacksonville

2009 Atlantic Sun Conference
Pre-season All-Conference Team

Pos Player School
GK Joey Sanchez Jacksonville
GK Adam Glick Florida Gulf Coast
D Robert Hodge Stetson
D Eddie Munnelly Jacksonville
D Kezi Lara Lipscomb
MF Vince Petrasso Campbell #
MF Stefan Runeman Jacksonville
MF Fredrik Brustad Stetson
F Miguel DaSilva Lipscomb
F Jason Keever Campbell
F Garret Pettis Lipscomb

# Unanimous selection
Pre-season Player of the Year: Miguel DaSilva (Lipscomb)

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