Monday, August 15, 2016

Bloomsburg University Men’s Soccer Picked Fifth In PSAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll

The Bloomsburg University men's soccer team
LOCK HAVEN, Pa. – The Bloomsburg University men's soccer team has been picked to finish fifth according to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Preseason Coaches' Poll released on Monday.

Last year's conference runner-up, Millersville, received three first-place votes and was picked to win the 2016 PSAC Championship. Perennial power Mercyhurst garnered the most first-place votes (7), but was picked second according to the poll. Gannon came in third while Slippery Rock, last year's conference champion, received the other two first-place votes and was picked fourth.

The Huskies are coming off of another successful season that saw them finish with a record of 14-5-0 overall and an 8-3-0 mark in league play. The 14 victories marked a program-record for victories in a season, surpassing the previous record of 13 set in 1979 and in 2014. Bloomsburg entered the PSAC Tournament as the third seed and survived a quarterfinal scare from sixth-seeded Lock Haven (2-1 in double overtime) before succumbing to second-seeded Millersville, 1-0, in the PSAC Semifinals hosted by Mercyhurst.

Bloomsburg loses PSAC First Team honoree Matt Zima (Newtown/Council Rock North) along with a pair of PSAC Second Team selections from a year ago in Mike Bamford (Doylestown/Central Bucks West) andNick Izzo (Frankford, DE/Indian River). However, the Huskies have plenty of firepower returning with redshirt junior Austin Transue (Langhorne/Neshaminy) expected to lead the way.

Transue is coming off of a breakout 2015 campaign in which he led the Huskies in nearly every offensive category including goals (13), assists (4), points (30), shots (59), shots on goal (30), and game-winning goals (7). He was named to the All-PSAC First Team and was an NSCAA All-Atlantic Region First Team selection while also collecting Second Team All-Region accolades from the D2CCA (Division II Conference Commissioners' Association).

The Huskies also return junior Jared Ott (Philadelphia/Archbishop Ryan) and redshirt sophomore Taylor LeSage (Collegeville/Methacton) who combined to play all but 180 minutes in goal last season. The duo combined to post a 12-5 record and six of the team's seven shutouts. Ott was an All-PSAC First Team performer in 2014 after tying the school record for shutouts in a season with eight.

Head coach Paul Payne returns for his 18th season and has guided the Huskies to a 139-150-29 overall record. In his last two seasons, however, Payne has led Bloomsburg to a 27-11-2 overall record and a 17-5-0 mark in league play. Two years ago, the Huskies played for the PSAC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in school history (1978).

Bloomsburg will open the season on Thursday night, September 1, when it hosts Felician University at Steph Pettit Stadium. Kickoff begins at 7:00 p.m.

2016 PSAC Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses)
1. Millersville (3)
2. Mercyhurst (7)
3. Gannon
4. Slippery Rock (2)
6. California
7. West Chester
8. Seton Hill
9. Lock Haven
10. Shippensburg
11. East Stroudsburg
12. Pitt-Johnstown

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