Men's Soccer Picked Sixth in League Preseason Poll

Aug. 26, 2005

Worcester, Mass. - The Holy Cross men's soccer team was voted sixth by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors in this season's conference preseason poll, as announced by league officials this morning. The Crusaders are coming off a 7-6-2 (1-4-2) campaign which tied for sixth place in the Patriot League a year ago.

Holy Cross is returning 17 letterwinners and 10 starters from last year's squad, including its top scoring threat in junior captain Josh Trott (Glen Cove, N.Y.). The speedy forward was a First Team All-Patriot League selection and earned National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA)/adidas All-Region and All-New England accolades in 2004 after posting 12 points on five goals and two assists.

The Crusader defense will be led by seniors Kevin Leonard (Unionville, Conn.), who was a Second Team All-Patriot League selection in 2004, and Gamal Baker (Columbus, Ga.), who started all 15 games in the HC backfield. Junior defender Alex Cruz (Conyers, Ga.) is also expected to have another strong year after making 15 starts and tying for fourth on the team with two goals and four total points in 2004.

There are high hopes for senior goalie Richard Whipple (Columbus, Ga.), who is entering his third full year as the team's starting goalkeeper. In conference games last season, Whipple led the Patriot League in saves and saves per game, while finishing second in the league in those same categories among all games. His career-high five shutouts were also a league-best (all games). A two-time BRINE Defensive Player of the Week selection in 2004, Whipple finished the season with a .789 save percentage.

Elvis Comrie is in his 15th season as the head coach of the Crusaders. Recently inducted into the Connecticut Hall of Fame, Comrie has the most career wins (95) of any soccer coach in school history and is expected to surpass the 100 career wins mark this season. Comrie will be the first soccer coach - men's or women's - in school history to accomplish that feat.

American University, which captured the 2004 Patriot League regular season and tournament title, was picked to repeat in this year's preseason poll. The Eagles earned 12 of 16 first place votes and 96 total points. Lehigh was second with two first place votes and 79 points, followed by Lafayette with the final first place vote and 68 points. Bucknell was fourth with 63 points, ahead of Colgate with 53 and Holy Cross with 44. Army finished with 28 points and Navy had 17.

The Crusaders open up the 2005 season at the Philips/Adidas Classic in Piscataway, N.J., where they will face St. John's University (Sept. 2) and Rutgers University (Sept. 3). Following games against St. Francis (N.Y.) (Sept. 10) and Canisius (Sept. 11) at the Albany Showcase in Albany, N.Y., Holy Cross will host Sacred Heart in its home opener on September 14. Patriot League competition for the Crusaders begins on Saturday, September 24, with a 1:00 p.m. match-up at Bucknell.