Melbourne, Fla. – The 2017 NCAA Division II National Runner-Up Lynn University men's soccer team has been picked to finish third in the Sunshine State Conference in the 2018 preseason poll released on Tuesday. Voting was conducted by men's soccer coaches from the league. Palm Beach Atlantic has been selected as the preseason favorite in the closest SSC men's soccer poll on record.
PBA received 92 total votes and four first-place votes in the poll. The University of Tampa earned second by the narrowest of margins, tallying 91 total votes and four first-place votes. Lynn came in a close third with 90 total votes and the remaining three first-place votes. PBA, Tampa and Lynn were ranked top-three on every ballot. Rounding out the top five is Rollins and Florida Tech.
The Fighting Knights knocked off the top-seeded Sailfish in the second round of the NCAA Tournament en route to reaching the national championship match for the fourth time since 2011. Lynn would play to a scoreless tie over 110 minutes against the University of Charleston before falling in penalty kicks.
This year's squad returns eight starters, including All-American central defender Niklas Tasky, while also welcoming the return of 2016 SSC Player of the Year Jack Watson, who missed last season with an injury. Tasky will anchor a defense that could be one of the strongest in the nation as all four starters are back. The team's 10 goals allowed last year were the fewest by a Blue and White squad since 2006 and tied for the third-lowest in program history.
The Sailfish claimed the 2017 SSC regular season title while Tampa earned the conference tournament crown for the first time in a decade. The Spartans own the most regular season titles at 14 while Lynn and Rollins share the league lead with five SSC tournament championships.
Lynn (No. 2), PBA (No. 9) and Tampa (No. 23) represent the SSC in the 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division II preseason men's poll. The ranking was announced Tuesday, August 7th.
Lynn opens up its season on Friday, Aug. 31, at 6 p.m. when it hosts Christian Brothers at Bobby Campbell Stadium. The Fighting Knights begin league play on Sep. 15, as they host Florida Southern. Fans can watch all of the action live on the Lynn Sports Network.