Welcome to the A-10: Men's and Women's Fall 2013 soccer preview

A look into the fall 2013 season as Mason enters the A-10 conference (photo courtesy of atlantic10.com).
A look into the fall 2013 season as Mason enters the A-10 conference (photo courtesy of atlantic10.com).

Change is on the horizon for George Mason University sports this year, as the Patriots embark on their inaugural season as a member of the Atlantic 10 conference. The change includes the upcoming season for the men's and women's soccer teams.

In a poll released last week by the conference, the men’s soccer team was predicted to finish third in their first season of A-10 competition. Mason received 113 third place votes, barely edging out the Dayton Flyers, who finished fourth with 112 votes. Freshman midfielder Zach Herstek was also named a member of the A-10 All-Rookie Team. Herstek was a three-year letter winner in high school, scoring 81 goals in those three seasons.

Saint Louis University, the defending A-10 champions, received 11 of 12 first place votes (the last vote going to VCU) as they begin their quest to repeat as conference champions.

The polls were constructed via a vote by the 12 league coaches. The All-Rookie and All-Conference teams are dominated by student-athletes from Saint Louis and VCU, leaving Herstek as the only Patriot to receive preseason honors.

Thus far, the Patriots have begun the season 2-0, with wins over Howard and American University in their defense of the 2013 D.C. College Cup.

As for the Lady Patriots, their entrance in the A-10 is slated to be a larger test. The women’s team was predicted to finish sixth in their inaugural season, according to their preseason poll.

For the fifth straight year, the Dayton Flyers women’s soccer team was chosen as the preseason favorite. Despite their 2012 conference championship, La Salle came in second in a tiebreaker vote. The VCU Rams then came in third, followed by Richmond, Massachusetts, and Mason.

The Patriots received national recognition last week, earning the 10th spot in the NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I Women’s Regional Poll. Sitting atop the Patriot’s Mid-Atlantic poll is Mason’s new A-10 rival La Salle. New rankings come out Sept. 3rd.

The Lady Patriots have begun the season 1-1-1, defeating North Florida, losing to Maryland and tying with William & Mary. With nine returning starters and 11 newcomers, Coach Drake will be relying on her upperclassmen leaders to take the Lady Patriots to new heights in 2013.

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