The 2006 Valparaiso University men's soccer team has been picked to finish sixth in the Mid-Continent Conference in a poll of the league's seven head coaches.
Coach Mis' Mrak's club was picked sixth in the preseason poll a year ago but finished 3-2-1 in conference play and advanced to the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament as the fourth seed. This year's Crusader team returns their top five scorers, including Second Team All-Conference forward D.J. Catrow (Springfield, Ohio/Catholic Central) who led the team in goals, assists and points in 2005.
Oakland, the defending regular-season champ, was picked to repeat and received three of seven first place votes. Western Illinois, the two-time defending tournament champion, was picked second with IUPUI and Oral Roberts tying for third place.
The Brown and Gold will open the 2006 season with an exhibition match at Xavier (Ohio) on Friday evening before coming home to Eastgate Field to battle UW-Milwaukee in another exhibition Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Valpo opens the regular season at home, Friday August 25 against DePaul at 5:00 p.m.
2006 Mid-Continent Conference Preseason Poll
1. Oakland - 33 (3)
2. Western Illinois - 28 (2)
3. IUPUI - 21 (1)
3. Oral Roberts - 21 (1)
5. UMKC - 18
6. Valparaiso - 13
7. Centenary - 7