MACON, Ga. - Despite having a league-high four players named to the Preseason All-Atlantic Sun Team, the Mercer men's soccer team was picked to finish third in the 2013 Atlantic Sun Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll released by the conference office on Wednesday afternoon.
Even though Mercer is coming off its second A-Sun Championship title game appearance in the last four seasons and return seven starters from its 2012 squad, the Bears were picked third finishing just three points shy of second-place East Tennessee State.
Florida Gulf Coast, who defeated Mercer in the A-Sun Tournament title game last season, was once again picked to win the conference according to the leagues' nine head coaches.
Mercer did earn high praise when it came to selecting a Preseason All-Atlantic Sun Team, however, as seniors Joey Heavner, Ryan King and Ehjayson Henry and junior Greg Ranjitsingh were all selected to the squad.
Ranjitsingh was tabbed as the A-Sun Conference Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year after a dominant sophomore campaign. The Pickering, Ontario native posted an 11-7-2 record in 2012 while leading the A-Sun with a 0.87 goals against average, .838 save percentage and 93 saves. Ranjitsingh has 14 shutouts to his credit this far in his career and is just one shutout away from breaking the all-time Mercer record and nine clean sheets shy of setting a new A-Sun Conference record for most career shutouts.
Heavner returns to the pitch following a season-ending knee injury seven games into his senior campaign. The talented outside back had seven points on one goal and five assists last season before his injury and enters 2013 as the active leader in the A-Sun Conference with his 17 career helpers.
King had a breakout junior season tallying a career-best 12 points on two goals and eight assists. An A-Sun All-Conference second team and A-Sun Conference All-Academic team selection last season, King enters 2013 with 27 career points, which ranks second on the A-Sun Conference Active Career Leaders list.
Henry continues to prove his worth as an offensive force on the top of Coach Ruzzo's attacking unit. The Harris Village, Saint Kitts product led the Bears with 14 points on the strength of five goals and four assists and was rewarded by being named to the A-Sun All-Conference first team.
Mercer is in the midst of a five-day training camp in Jekyll Island before taking on South Carolina in a road exhibition match on August 18. The Bears open their 2013 regular season at ACC member Clemson on August 30 at 7:00 p.m.