(Posted August 27, 2007)

MADISON, N.J. - The Juniata College men\'s soccer team was picked to finish in the inaugural season of Landmark Conference competition, in preseason voting by the league\'s head coaches and sports information directors. The Eagles, who begin their 2007 campaign under new head coach Dan Dubois, earned 17 points in the poll. Juniata returns seven starters, including four of its top five scorers who together accounted for 12 of the team\'s 22 goals in 2006. Headlining the returnees is junior midfielder Fred McNeal (Towanda, Pa./Troy), who finished 2006 with three goals and three assists for nine points. The United States Merchant Marine Academy topped the poll with 85 points, narrowly edging the University of Scranton in second position on the poll with 84 points. Susquehanna University was third with 65 points, followed by Drew University (61 pts.), Moravian College (43 pts.), Goucher College (42 pts.), Catholic University of America (24 pts.), and Juniata. A capsule look at the rest of the Landmark Conference men\'s soccer teams: A loaded offense looks to be the strength for the United States Merchant Marine Academy as the team returns all but one of its top-10 goal scorers from a squad that went 14-4-1 in 2006 and narrowly missed the NCAA Tournament. The Mariners will have to replace three All-Region players, including their starting keeper, from the 2006 squad. Scranton also has the benefit of plenty of returning players including four performers who captured All-Conference honors during their careers. The team brings back eight of 11 starters from an 11-4-3 campaign last season. Susquehanna reached the finals of its conference tournament en route to a 10-8-1 season in 2006. Back in the mix is an All-Conference defender who is one of five returning starters. The team will need to replace a pair of All-Conference honorees. Much like Susquehanna, Drew is coming off a solid season but lost several players due to graduation. The Rangers went 9-8-1 in 2006 and reached both the conference and ECAC postseason. The team returns its starting keepers, two of its top three goal scorers and the conference rookie of the year from 2006 Moravian was 5-12-1 last season, but had three of its wins come in conference outings. The Greyhounds have plenty of offense back in the fold as five of the six players with at least two goals a season ago are back. The team also welcomes back its starting goalkeepers. Goucher enjoyed a .500 season in 2006 as it finished the year with a record of 9-9. The Gophers will miss five seniors from that team, including an All-Region pick, but do return four of their top five goal scorers from last year. One of those players was an All-Conference selection a year ago. Catholic earned 24 points in the poll and will be under the direction of a new head coach in 2007. The roster features nine returning starters from a group that posted a 3-11-3 mark last season. Among the returnees is the team leader in goals and assists who was the conference rookie of the year last season. The Landmark Conference begins competition this fall and will crown a conference champion in men's soccer. A men's soccer contest will be the first official Landmark Conference match as the top two teams in the poll meet on Sept. 15 as USMMA hosts Scranton. -30-

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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.