For the seventh consecutive season, Midwestern State opens the season with a very familiar target on its back.
The Mustangs return to the National Soccer Coaches' Association of America/Continental Tire NCAA Division II Preseason Rankings at No. 22 as released Tuesday afternoon.
MSU returns 12 letter winners and eight starters from last season's squad which posted a 10-2-5 record as the Mustangs retain their top two offensive threats in 2012 LSC Newcomer of the Year Len Smith (10 goals, 2 assists) and second-team all-league performer VcMor Eligwe who returns for his senior campaign after nothing seven goals and four assists a season ago.
Senior B.A. Catney (1 goal, 1 assist), junior Andrew Power (3 goals, 6 assists) and sophomores Ben Clarvis (3 goals, 1 assists) and Idrissa Camara (1 goal, 1 assist) give the Mustangs quality experience in the midfield.
Seniors Isaac Pile, Eric Glad and Michael Brody, junior Sam Bartek and LSC Freshman of the Javan Toledo combined for 53 starts for a back line which limited the opposition to a 0.76 goals against average in 2012 while working seven clean sheets.
Junior goalkeeper Nathan Kenyon, who permitted three goals in 405 minutes (0.67 GAA), is the top returner between the posts.
The Mustangs carried preseason rankings into the last six seasons sitting 11th in 2007, third in 2008, fifth in 2009, 19th in 2010, third in 2011 and 14th in 2012.
MSU is one of six teams from the soccer strong South Central Region to receive mention in the poll joining No. 5 Regis (Colo.) and No. 19 Colorado Mines while Fort Lewis (Colo.), St. Edward's (Texas) and West Texas A&M are receiving votes.
The Mustangs kick off the regular season on Friday, Sep. 6 against Fort Lewis at the MSU Soccer Field. Start time is set for 7 p.m.
Midwestern State plays a pair of home exhibition matches: against Oklahoma Wesleyan on Wednesday, Aug. 21 and against Science & Arts (Okla.) on Tuesday, Aug. 27.