This continues our series of daily articles previewing each men's and women's college conference. All the conference previews can be found here. And don't forget to check out our Conference Top 20 College Players To Watch.
It is a well known fact that winning cures all ills, and defending conference champions St. Louis(w) and Harvard
can attest to that as the 2010 season begins.
Outstanding underclassmen have helped the Billikens and Crimson avoid the dreaded championship hangover, and are equipped to keep their teams on top in 2010. But the competition remains stiff. Here’s a rundown of each A10 and Ivy team’s chances this fall. Atlantic 10
Will Dayton celebrate again in 2010?
Defending champion St. Louis(m) welcomes back junior midfielder Mike Roach, the conference’s leading scorer in 2009, and Alex Sweetin, last season’s Rookie of the Year, to a roster overflowing with talent. Standout freshmen Christian Briggs and Adnan Gabeljic round out a Billiken team that is the odds-on favorite to win the A10 title this year.
With eight starters returning from a Charlotte
team that went unbeaten in 13 straight contests in 2009, the 49ers have continuity on their side. Forward Evan James and defender Isaac Cowles will try to lead an accomplished veteran roster to even greater heights in 2010. Dayton
suffered a loss when all-conference performers Isaac Kissi and Ryan Handbury graduated over the summer, but an infusion of fresh talent brightens the Flyers prospects this season. Senior leader Tommy Watkins is joined by an outstanding freshman class, including Marlon Duran, Victor Duru and Badir Sherman, making Dayton a tough team to beat. Rhode Island
finished 9-9-2 and 9-7-3, respectively, in 2009, but neither team appears ready to make a significant move up the standings in 2010. Rhode Island defender Dwayne Williams and Fordham midfielder Tim Richardson provide steady leadership, but it won’t be easy to emerge from a grueling conference schedule.
The bulging midsection of the A10 is made up of five teams – Temple
, George Washington
, St. Bonaventure
– that finished within a hair of .500 last season. Each will use 2010 to try to distinguish itself from the pack.Temple
and UMass are set with senior all-conference players Tyler Witmer, Josh Paterson and Ben Arikian, respectively, leading the charge and Temple
has the added benefit of having one of the conference’s top freshmen in Vaughn Spurrier on its side.
and St. Bonaventure
, meanwhile, face a stiff challenge as they try to replace departed seniors Andy Stadler and Sam Maheu, respectively. The Colonials and Wolves will need their freshman class to provide immediate support.
Second-year head coach Clint Peay has his Richmond team hungry after a sub-par 5-11-2 campaign in 2009. Peay has a talented underclass at his disposal, and he will need his young midfield to hit the ground running as they attempt to replace departed all-conference midfielder Fynn Glover. La Salle
, a combined 8-23-4 overall in 2009, didn’t have much to boast about last season. But promising freshmen like La Salle
goalkeeper John McCarthy and Xavier
midfielder Gino Depaoli have the Explorers and Musketeers excited about their prospects in 2010.
St. Joseph’s(m) descended to new depths in 2009, failing to garner a single point while hitting rock-bottom with a 0-17 overall record. First year head coach Don D’Ambra has brought a fresh breath of enthusiasm to Hawk Hill, but turning this program around won’t be easy. Luckily, his team has nowhere to go but up. Ivy LeagueHarvard
won the 2009 Ivy League title behind senior standouts Kwaku Nyamekye and Andre Akpan, but enters 2010 without the services of either. Luckily for the Crimson, sophomore defender Richard Smith and forward Brian Rogers are prepared to handle the leadership role, and Harvard is well-equipped to win the title again in 2010.
Paul Grandstrand (Bown)
After a crop of young players emerged as stars during Brown
’s run to second place in 2009, Brown
remains in good position to challenge Harvard for the conference crown. With goalkeeper Paul Grandstrand anchoring the defense and midfielder Sean Rosa orchestrating the attack, the Bears will be circled on every Ivy team’s calendar.
Once again, Princeton
is loaded heading into 2010. All-conference performers a year ago, Mark Linville, Josh Walburn, Antoine Hoppenot and Ben Burton return to give the Tigers one of the most formidable rosters in the Ivy League. It’s championship-or-bust for this Princeton team. Dartmouth
will count on midfielder Daniel Keat and forward Lucky Mkosana to lead a potent attack that generated 31 goals in 2009. If the defense can hold up its end of the bargain, Big Green could be destined for big things in 2010.
Tied for fifth place in the Ivy League at the end of 2009, Penn
offered little to excite fans. Still, both teams are bristling with young talent. Defender Jake Levin of Penn, goalkeeper Rick Pflasterer and defender Ben Kenyon of Cornell will shoulder the early load as the Quakers and Bears try to climb up the standings. Yale
drew for last place with 2-5 conference records in 2009, and while Yale has some hope in senior forward Brad Rose and junior defender Andy Hackbarth, the light at the end of Columbia’s tunnel is dim. Second-year coach Kevin Anderson’s team is making progress, but the long hard road to respectability has only just begun.