SAINT LEO, Fla. –The Saint Leo men’s soccer team was voted fifth in the Sunshine State Conference Preseason Poll (78 points), just one point behind Nova Southeastern for fourth place, it was announced Friday morning by the conference office. It is the second consecutive season the men's team has been selected to finish fifth. The University of Tampa was voted to win the league for the second consecutive year as they totaled 126 votes.

The Lions, manned by Head Coach Joel Harrison, finished the 2008 campaign with a 5-3 record in the SSC. With an overall record of 10-7-1, the squad managed to notch their third double-digit win season in the last four years. The Green and Gold ended the 2008 season with a SSC Tournament win over Nova Southeastern before being upended by Tampa in the semifinals.

Coach Harrison returns for his sixth season on the sidelines for SLU  along with six players from last year’s team, including second-leading goal scorer Jonathan Glenn. In addition, 15 Newcomers will dawn the Lions’ jersey for the first time, 14 of which are incoming freshman.

The Lions will open the 2009 campaign on Thursday, August 27 with a 7:00 pm tilt against Clearwater Christian College on the campus of Saint Leo University.

The Spartans accumulated 126 points in the poll, which was conducted among the league's men's soccer coaches and sports information directors. UT received 14 of a possible 18 first-place votes. Voters do not rank their own institution when completing the poll.

Lynn, which won the 2008 SSC title, was selected to finish second. The Fighting Knights tallied 100 points and two first-place votes.

If the poll proves accurate, the battle for third through sixth place in the league standings will be up for grabs. Rollins received the third-place nod with 85 points and one first-place vote. Close behind was Nova Southeastern, which garnered 79 points to place fourth in the poll. The Sharks received the remaining first-place vote. Nipping at the Lions' heels was sixth-place Barry, which tallied 71 points.

Eckerd, Florida Tech, and Florida Southern rounded out the preseason poll. 

2009 SUNSHINE STATE CONFERENCE PRESEASON MEN'S SOCCER POLL
Place - Team, Points (1st Place Votes)
1 - Tampa, 126 (14)
2 - Lynn, 100 (2)
3 - Rollins, 85 (1)
4 - Nova Southeastern, 79 (1)
5 - Saint Leo, 78
6 - Barry, 71
7 - Eckerd, 57
8 - Florida Tech, 35
9 - Florida Southern, 17