Ohio Wesleyan has once again been selected as the preseason favorite based on balloting from league coaches heading into the 32nd North Coast Athletic Conference men’s soccer season.
The Battling Bishops, who are coming off their seventh consecutive NCAC championship and NCAA-record 37th Division III playoff appearance, including the program’s 10th trip to the NCAA Division III semifinals, earned eight of the first-place votes cast by league coaches to finish on top of the poll with 96 total points. Kenyon received the final two first-place votes and finished second in the poll with 91 points, while DePauw finished in third place with 74 points. Denison placed fourth with 62 points, while Wabash was fifth with 60 points. Allegheny earned the sixth position with 48 points, followed by Oberlin (45), Hiram (34), Wooster (23), and Wittenberg (17).
Ohio Wesleyan enters the 2015 season under the direction of head coach Jay Martin for the 39th consecutive season.
In 38 seasons at the Bishop helm, Martin has compiled the most wins in men’s college soccer history (all divisions) as he owns a career record of 657-124-61. The Bishops return three of their top four leading scorers from the 2014 squad that finished the year with a conference-high 54 goals, including an NCAC-best 22 in league play.
Leading the charge offensively for Ohio Wesleyan this fall is a two-time, first-team All-NCAC performer in senior Brian Schaefer (Chatham, N.J./Chatham), who accounted for 11 goals, five assists and 27 total points last fall. Senior Evan Lee (Toledo/St. John’s) and junior Kyle Baum (Powell/Olentangy Liberty) join Schaefer in 2015 as the trio combined for 19 goals, 12 assists and 40 total points to lead the Bishops to their second-straight unbeaten mark in conference play (8-0-1).
The Bishops have gone unbeaten in league play in six of the last seven seasons. In addition to his contributions on the offensive end, Lee anchors a defense that allowed just three goals in NCAC play for a 0.32 goals-against-average in league action.
OWU Sports Information contributed to this report.