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Men's Soccer Ranked Second In 2003 BIG EAST Preseason Poll

July 31, 2003

The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team has been picked to finish second in the BIG EAST Conference in 2003, as a result of a vote from the league’s coaches. The conference preseason poll was released on Thursday and the Irish, 12-6-3 a year ago, earned 128 points, finishing behind St. John’s (135 points) and ahead of Connecticut (127) and defending league champion Boston College (117). Notre Dame received three first place votes, while the Red Storm took home five.

The conference also announced its preseason honors and junior Chris Sawyer was selected for one of the three major awards. Sawyer, who finished the 2002 season with an 8-4-3 record and 0.99 goals-against average, was named the 2003 Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year. Connecticut’s Cesar Cuellar ended up as the preseason offensive player of the year, while St. John’s Chris Wingert earned the defensive player award.

Sawyer was joined on the preseason all-BIG EAST squad by teammates Jack Stewart and Justin Detter. Stewart, a junior who is moving up to midfield from the back in 2003, posted two points last season. Detter is on the move as well, making the switch from midfielder to forward to give the Irish an extra scoring boost this season. Detter finished with 19 points (six goals, seven assists) a year ago and was a second-team all-BIG EAST performer.

The BIG EAST Conference, its competing teams and its fans will not have to wait long for the big showdown between Notre Dame and St. John’s. The Red Storm visit Alumni Field on Sept. 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the BIG EAST opener for both schools.

Notre Dame’s regular season begins on Friday, Aug. 29, against Alabama-Birmingham in the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in Bloomington, Ind.

2003 BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Preseason Poll

rank, team, points, 2002 overall record, 2002 conference finish

1. St. John’s, 135, 13-3-5, 2nd
2. Notre Dame, 128, 12-6-3, 4th
3. Connecticut, 127, 17-6-0, 3rd
4. Boston College, 117, 18-5-0, 1st
5. Rutgers, 89, 8-8-3, t-5th
6. Seton Hall, 87, 9-8-3, t-7th
7. Georgetown, 75, 8-9-1, t-5th
8. Syracuse, 67, 8-8-2, 10th
9. Virginia Tech, 57, 10-7-1, t-7th
10. Pittsburgh, 40, 8-9-1, 11th
West Virginia, 40, 4-11-2, 13th
12. Providence, 35, 7-11-0, t-7th
13. Villanova, 17, 5-13-0, 12th

Preseason Awards
Offensive Player of the Year: Cesar Cuellar, Connecticut, Sr., F
Defensive Player of the Year: Chris Wingert, St. John’s, Sr., B
Goalkeeper of the Year: Chris Sawyer, Notre Dame, Jr.

Preseason All-BIG EAST team
Chris Sawyer, Notre Dame, Jr., GK
Guy Melamed, Boston College, Jr., B
Jeff Curtin, Georgetown, So., B*
Jack Stewart, Notre Dame, Jr., MF
Chris Wingert, St., John’s, Sr., B
Bill Arnault, Boston College, Jr., MF
Lindon Pecorelli, Connecticut, Sr., MF
Justin Detter, Notre Dame, Sr., F/MF
Ryan McGowan, Seton Hall, Sr., MF
Cesar Cuellar, Connecticut, Sr., F*
Chris Karcz, Rutgers, So., F
Chris Corcoran, St. John’s, Jr., F
Jarett Park, Syracuse, Jr., F

* – indicates unanimous selection