The University of Akron men's soccer program has been chosen to win its
sixth regular season MAC title in eight years by a vote of the league's
coaches. The Zips received 48 of a possible 49 points and six
first-place votes in the preseason poll.
Last season the Zips won their third consecutive regular season
conference title with a 6-0-1 conference record. They were ranked as
high as 12th in the country, and finished the season 18th in the
Akron put itself in strong contention to win its fourth conference title
in a row by returning a 1999 first-team All-MAC selection at each
position. Junior goalkeeper Kyle Milligan will return after leading the
conference with a 0.95 goals against average. On defense, senior Greg
Prusha will return for the Zips and he will be joined by junior
midfielder ?rjan Bj?neso and junior forward Torbj?rn Birkeland, the
fifth highest scorer in the MAC last season.
Kentucky received one first-place vote and finished second in the poll
with 40 points. The Wildcats won the conference tournament last season
and closed out their season with a 1-0 double-overtime loss to eventual
national champion Indiana in the NCAA tournament. Kentucky will return
two 1999 first-team all-conference midfielders, junior Ilkka Jantti and
senior Giovanni Fernandes.
Northern Illinois finished third in the voting with 33 points. The
Huskies, who lost to Kentucky in the conference championship game, will
be returning three second-team All-MAC performers, sophomores Peter
Agrimson and Andrew Conti and senior Dan Parisi, the second-highest
scorer in the conference last season.
Bowling Green finished five points behind Northern Illinois with 28
points. The Falcons will return first-team All-MAC selection senior
Fred Degand on defense. Marshall finished fifth in the poll with 21
points and will welcome back Mid-American Conference Co-Newcomer of the
Year Byron Carmichael, who finished the 1999 campaign fourth in the
conference with 10 goals.
Buffalo finished sixth in the poll with 18 points. The Bulls will have
to replace MAC Player of the Year, Steve Butcher, but will return senior
all-conference honorees Brian McCallion and Tim Songer to the lineup.
Western Michigan finished out the poll with eight points, but will be
building off the momentum of a 1999 quarterfinal victory over #1 seed
Akron in the conference tournament.