New head coach Jason Gildner and the Alfred State College men's soccer team will enter the 2009 season in the NJCAA Division III National Poll. The Pioneers, who finished 2008 with a 14-4 mark, are ranked 6th in the preseason poll.
Gildner, an Alfred State soccer alum and former assistant coach who replaces Todd Weil, inherits a team that advanced to the Region III Division III championship match. Eleven players from that team return in 2009.
Jason Durst (Gates Chili), Lucas Wales (Bath), and Caleb Drake (Jasper Troupsburg) highlight the returners. Durst was a 1st team All-Region and 2nd team All-Conference selection after netting eight goals, Wales was 2nd team All-Conference after registering a team high 17 points (8 goals and one assist), and Drake added five goals and three assists on his way to 2nd team All-Region and 1st team All-Conference honors.
Kevin Arilotta (Churchville), Masanari Yamamoto (Tokyo, Japan), Koya Takadama (Soma, Japan), Justin Clark (Alfred Almond), Justin Handley (Iroquois), Matthew Kooy (Caledonia Mumford) , Erik Reynolds (East Rochester), and Keenan Thayer (Middletown, RI) also return.
Alfred State is joined in the preseason poll by Region III foes, Herkimer CCC (#1), Mohawk Valley CC (#8), and SUNY Delhi (#11).
The Pioneers kick off their season on Septermber 5th when they take on SUNY Delhi in the first day of the East/West Showdown at Hudson Valley CC. The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start.