Bluejay soccer teams picked sixth, seventh

The Tabor College men?s soccer team was picked sixth in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s soccer coaches poll, conducted as part of the KCAC Sport Management Conference Aug. 11. Defending tournament champion McPherson was picked first.

The Tabor women?s team was picked seventh in their poll, with Kansas Wesleyan awarded seven first place votes to take the top spot. Anchored offensively by Jessica Burden, who scored 13 goals in 19 games last year, Tabor placed fourth in the regular season standings.

?We were picked a couple places below where we finished in the conference, but from what I remember about the numbers, it was a pretty close race between fifth, sixth and seventh place,? he said. ?We?re right there, and we have more rebuilding to do on the women?s side.?

?We?ll have more new faces on the women?s side than on the men?s side, so some of the growing pains we?ll experience are to be expected,? he noted. ?We also return some excellent players, so that will help us try to match the success of a season ago.?

With Burden and fellow all-conference players Leigh Costello and Aubrey Whitehorn returning for their senior seasons, the Bluejays may be primed to climb several places in the standings again.

Brubacher said both polls correspond to recent history and to reasonable assessments of turnover.

?Both polls have a group at the top and a group at the bottom that reflect where their programs have been for three or four seasons,? he said. ?I felt like there is a core group in the middle of the conference where the voting was very close. That reflects the parity that exists in the middle of the pack, where there are a number of teams that, based on a game or two either way during the season, will go up or down compared to the polls. We ended up on the lower end, but the point totals reflected pretty accurately where the teams are in the conference.?

Kansas Wesleyan posted an undefeated regular season in conference play, but McPherson took the tournament title. Brubacher said both teams have earned their position as the KCAC?s top dogs.

?I think both teams will be strong again this year, both with their returning players and their new recruits,? he said. ?I think at the same time, there are a number of other teams in the conference that can contend for those top spots. I think it will be a good year in the KCAC, with a lot of close matches.?

The Tabor men placed sixth last year, in no small part because of the point-per-game production of Silas Hibbs and Andy Adrian. Adrian returns to the 2009 roster, but Hibbs will be found assisting coach Grant Brubacher along the sidelines.

?Where we were picked is pretty much on par with where we finished last year, but I think we have the talent to do better than that,? Brubacher said. ?But we understand the rational for being picked there. We lost three starters and one other impact player from last year?s team.?

KCAC Preseason Soccer Polls

Men?s Poll

1. McPherson (6 first place) 86

2. Kansas Wesleyan (3) 84

3. Friends 70

4. Ottawa (1) 63

5. Sterling 59

6. Tabor 56

7. Saint Mary 38

8. Bethel 34

9. Southwestern 28

10. Bethany 22

Women?s Poll

1. Kansas Wesleyan (7) 88

2. Ottawa (2) 83

3. McPherson (1) 75

4. Sterling 61

5. Bethany 50

6. Southwestern 48

7. Tabor 47

8. Saint Mary 42

9. Bethel 24

10. Friends 22

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