Aug. 8, 2012
IRVING, Texas - South Carolina, 2011 Conference USA regular season co-champion and NCAA Tournament participant, has been selected as the preseason C-USA favorite by a vote of the league's nine head coaches. Memphis junior striker Mark Sherrod has been tabbed as the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year while Marshall senior goalkeeper Daniel Withrow was named the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
2012 Composite Schedule
Sherrod, a third team NSCAA All-American, was the 2011 Conference USA Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and a member of the All-Conference First Team. The Hermann Trophy semifinalist led the country in goals per game (1.06) and ranked in the top four in three other statistical categories: second in points per game (2.33), third in total goals scored (19) and fourth in total points (42). On two separate occasions, he earned national player of the week accolades by multiple publications, while also being listed on several national teams of the week.
Withrow was the 2010 C-USA Defensive Player of the Year, the 2009 C-USA Freshman of the Year and a first team all-conference selection a year ago. He led the league in saves per game (4.94), posted four shutouts and a .790 save percentage to go along with 79 saves.
All nine league members are represented on the preseason all-conference team. Marshall led all teams with three selections, while Memphis and UCF both placed two members on the squad. Because of a tie in voting, 13 players were named to the team.
South Carolina led the team poll, garnering 65 total points and one first place vote to edge SMU (64 points, two first place votes) as the coaches' preseason favorite. The tightly bunched poll results saw six teams receive at least one first place vote. UCF (57 points, one first place vote) was slotted in the third place position and UAB (54 points, three first place votes) was tabbed in fourth as the four C-USA NCAA Tournament teams from 2011 claimed the top four positions in the preseason poll.
Also receiving first place tallies were Memphis, an 11-win team a year ago, and Tulsa, which returns eight starters from a year ago. Kentucky, Marshall and FIU rounded out the preseason poll.
Conference USA teams return 34 all-conference players, including six first team selections, eight second and third team choices and all 13 members of the all-freshman team to a league that earned four bids to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season.
The talent pool of returning players will play a combined 28 non-conference matches against 17 different teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2011. Notably, the league will face three of the four College Cup participants, and five of last season's final eight, including four matches against national runner-up Charlotte.
Of the 17 NCAA Tournament qualifiers on C-USA non-conference schedules, nine won at least one match during last year's tournament and five won at least two matches.
UAB will host the top six finishers in the regular season standings for 2012 C-USA Championship, Nov. 7-11 at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. The same venue will host the 2012 NCAA College Cup Dec. 7 and 9. UAB will co-host the College Cup with the Alabama Sports Foundation, marking the second consecutive year that UAB will serve as the host institution for college soccer's national championship.
Fans can follow C-USA online on Twitter (@ConferenceUSA1) with the hashtag #CUSAMSOC and on Facebook (facebook.com/ConferenceUSA).
2012 Conference USA Preseason Men's Soccer Poll
Team Points (1st)
- South Carolina 65 (1)
- SMU 64 (2)
- UCF 57 (1)
- UAB 54 (3)
- Memphis 50 (1)
- Tulsa 40 (1)
- Kentucky 29
- Marshall 27
- FIU 19
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Mark Sherrod, F, Memphis
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Daniel Withrow, GK, Marshall
2012 Preseason All-C-USA Men's Soccer Team
- Anthony Hobbs, D, FIU
- Dylan Asher, D, Kentucky
- Tom Jackson, M, Marshall
- Anthony Virgara, M, Marshall
- Daniel Withrow, GK, Marshall
- Liam Collins, M, Memphis
- Mark Sherrod, F, Memphis
- Juan Castillo, F, SMU
- Bradlee Baladez, F, South Carolina
- Omar Mata, M, Tulsa
- Reed Matte, D, UAB
- McKauly Tulloch, F, UCF
- Andrew Quintana, D, UCF