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1. 2006 Men's Conference Previews
August 23rd, 2006 6:48PM

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Soccer America continues its countdown the 2006 college season, which starts Friday for men and women, with a look at rest of the 2006 NCAA Division I men's conferences.

(Yesterday's conference previews: ACC-Conference USA.)

HORIZON
Defending Champion: Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Preseason Poll: 1. Detroit, 2. Wisconsin-Milwaukee (No. 24 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 3. UIC.
Players to Watch: Wisconsin-Milwaukee keeper Grant Fernstrum had 10 shutouts and led the nation with a 0.47 goals-against average as a freshman. Detroit midfielder Vahid Assadpour had a Horizon-high 10 assists in 2005. UIC forward Tonci Skroce scored three golden goals a year ago.
Composite Horizon Schedule

IVY LEAGUE
Defending Champions: Brown, Dartmouth Yale. Preseason Poll: None.
Players to Watch: Harvard's Charles Altcheck (11 goals) was named 2005 Ivy League Player of the Year as a junior. Yale's Alex Munns and Brown defender Matt Britner were the only unanimous selections to the All-Ivy first team in 2005. Other first teamers returning are Brown forward Andrew Daniels and midfielder Ben Brackett, Dartmouth goalkeeper Rowan Anders (eight shutouts) and defender Lucas Richardson and Jake Miller, a key Yale defender.
Composite Ivy League Schedule

MAAC
Defending Champion: Marist. Preseason Poll: 1. Fairfield, 2. Loyola (Md), 3. Marist.
Players to Watch: Marist's Keith Detelj (11 goals in 2005) has twice been named the MAAC Tournament MVP. Four Fairfield players were named to the preseason all-conference team: defenders Mike Troy and Tom Skara and midfielders Sam Bailey and sophomore Kerr McLeod, the 2005 MAAC Rookie of the Year. Gabe Ortega and Rade Kokovic were Loyola's selections to the preseason team.
Composite MAAC Schedule

MID-AMERICAN
Defending Champion: Akron. Preseason Poll: 1. Akron (No. 7 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. Northern Illinois, 3. Buffalo.
Players to Watch: Preseason All-American Sinisa Ubiparipovic is one of four all-conference picks returning for Akron. MAC first-team selection Justin McGrane is one of eight returning starters for Northern Illinois. Andrae Clarke scored 29 points (nine goals, 11 assists) last season for Buffalo.
Composite Mid-American Schedule

MID-CONTINENT
Defending Champion: Western Illinois. Preseason Poll: 1. Oakland, 2. Western Illinois, 3. IUPIU, 3. Oral Roberts.
Players to Watch: Oakland returns three of its top four scorers, including senior Jim Denk and sophomore Wade Allan. Western Illinois midfielder Nick Bohnenkamp was the 2005 conference tournament MVP. IUPUI's Vangel Nacovski is a two-time first team all-conference selection. Oral Roberts' Carlos Pinto, the 2005 Newcomer of the Year, scored 18 point as a freshman.
Composite Mid-Continent Schedule

MISSOURI VALLEY
Defending Champion: Creighton. Preseason Poll: 1. Creighton (No. 13 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. Missouri State, 3. Bradley.
Players to Watch: Ryan Anderson, the co-Offensive Missouri Valley MVP last year and a Soccer America Preseason All-American, leads the Missouri State after scoring 15 goals in 2005. Creighton's Michael Kraus was named the Offensive MVP, while junior Matt Allen was tabbed the Defensive MVP at the preseason Westfield Insurance Cup. Bluejay Byron Dacy was the the 2005 MVC Freshman of the Year. Zach Bell scored 18 points for Bradley in 2005.
Composite Missouri Valley Schedule

MPSF
Defending Champion: New Mexico. Preseason Poll: 1. New Mexico, 2. Sacramento State, 2. San Jose State.
Players to Watch: Andrew Boyens, New Mexico's Soccer America Preseason All-American selection, spent the offseason traveling with New Zealand's national team. Utodi Madu, a 2005 All-MPSF pick, anchors Sac State's backline.
Composite MPSF Schedule

NORTHEAST
Defending Champion: Robert Morris. Preseason Poll: 1. Monmouth, 2. Fairleigh Dickinson, 3. Central Connecticut.
Players to Watch: Central Connecticut's Alex Harrison has twice been named NEC Player of the Year. He scored 13 goals in 2005. Monmouth is led by 2005 NEC Defensive Player of the Year Hugh MacDonald and Tom Gray, who ranked second in the NEC with seven assists in 2005. FDU's Alejandro Bedoya (19 points) was one of the most exciting freshmen in the country last season. Robert Morris returns its top four scorers, including Canadian Jacek Przednowek (14 goals). Junior midfielder Ryan Zabinski joined Przednowek on the all-conference first team last season. A pair of Englishmen -- defender Anthony Anzevui and goalie Matthew Jones -- will lead Sacred Heart.
Composite Northeast Schedule

PAC-10
Defending Champion: UCLA. Preseason Poll: 1. UCLA (No. 5 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. California (No. 20),  3. Washington.
Players to Watch: Sal Izzo was one of three UCLA players to spend the offseason with the U.S. U-20 national team. Senior Eric Reed will be a steadying influence in goal for the Bruins. Cal midfielder Nick Hatzke returns from a 2005 redshirt season due to injury. Also back are midfielder Andrew Jacobson (seven assists in 2005) and defender  Steve Purdy. Washington's quest to return to postseason play will begin with senior defender Ty Harden and junior forwards Ely Allen and Kevin Forrest. Oregon State senior Robbie Findley ranks fourth all-time at OSU with 22 goals. Goalkeeping will be the strength at San Diego State, where All-American Tally Hall returns for his senior year.

PATRIOT
Defending Champion: Lafayette. Preseason Poll: 1. Lafayette, 2. American, 3. Lehigh.
Players to Watch: Lafayette's Scott Hawkins, Luke Sullivan and Thomas Harju earned first-team all-Patriot accolades last season. Phillip Purdy, the 2005 Patriot Rookie of the Year, returns at American along with Sal Caccavale. Back for Lehigh is first-team all-league pick John O'Reilly.

SOUTHERN
Defending Champion: San Francisco. Preseason Poll: 1. UNC Greensboro (No. 12 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. Davidson, 3. Elon.
Players to Watch: UNC Greensboro's Randi Patterson, the 2005 Southern Player of the Year, and Scott Jones were selected to the Soccer America Preseason All-American Team. UNCG players Henning Jonasson and David Worthen also made the Southern preseason all-conference team. Elon had three players selected to the preseason team, led by KiKi Willis, the 2005 Freshman of the Year. Furman's defender Jon Leathers and midfielder Dominic Cianciarulo were all-conference selections in 2005. Midfielder Cass Baltz will lead Davidson.
Composite Southern Schedule

WCC
Defending Champion: San Francisco. Preseason Poll: 1. San Francisco (No. 17 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. Santa Clara, 3. San Diego.
Players to Watch: Aaron Chandler, the 2004 WCC Player of the Year, and 2005 WCC Defensive Player of the Year Rob Valentino will lead USF. Forward Keith DeVey was Santa Clara's top scorer a year ago with six goals and four assists. San Diego retains first-team All-WCC selection Kevin Meissner. Loyola Marymount will field one of the WCC's  top midfields with the return of All-WCC choice Junior Ybarra. Sophomore midfielder Carlos Diaz set the Saint Mary's single-season record with 11 assists in 2005.
Composite WCC Schedule

Tomorrow: Women's conference previews.


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