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PARK RIDGE, Ill. – Defending Big Ten Champion Ohio State has been tabbed as the preseason favorite in the 2010 Men’s Soccer preseason coaches’ poll, the Big Ten office announced Wednesday. Rounding out the poll’s top four are Indiana at No. 2 and Northwestern and Penn State tied for third.

Ohio State finished the 2009 season at 12-5-4 overall and 4-2-0 in Big Ten action after earning the Big Ten Championship and winning the Big Ten Tournament. Reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year John Bluem boasts three All-Big Ten performers in his starting 11, with 2009 Co-Freshman of the Year Matt Lampson and midfielders Matt Gold and Konrad Warzycha returning for the 2010 season. The Buckeyes open the season ranked 10th in College Soccer News’ preseason poll and 18th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason poll.

Eleven-time Big Ten Champion Indiana checks in at No. 2 in the preseason coaches’ poll after advancing to the NCAA Round of 16 for the second straight season. The Hoosiers finished the 2009 season at 12-10-1 overall and 3-3-0 in conference play, good for a tie for fourth place. Junior forward Will Bruin, the team’s leading scorer and a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2009, leads the offensive charge for the Hoosiers. Indiana is ranked 20th by the NSCAA and 21st by College Soccer News.

After tying for second place in the Big Ten with 3-2-1 conference records last season, Northwestern and Penn State enter 2010 tied for third in the preseason coaches’ poll. Penn State finished the 2009 season at 12-8-2 overall and is ranked 16th by College Soccer News and receiving votes in the NSCAA’s poll. Northwestern reached the NCAA Round of 16, finishing the season with an 11-5-4 overall record. The Wildcats also appear in the national preseason polls, checking in at No. 9 in the NSCAA’s poll and at No.18 in College Soccer News’ poll.

Michigan State, Michigan and Wisconsin fill the final three spots in the poll. Complete results of the 2010 Big Ten preseason coaches’ poll can be found below.

Additionally, the Big Ten announced a “Players to Watch” list for the first time, highlighting three student-athletes from each team entering the 2010 season. The complete list can also be found below.

The Big Ten men’s soccer season kicks off on Wednesday, Sept. 1, when Michigan hosts Detroit Mercy. Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State and Penn State begin play on Friday, Sept. 3, while Wisconsin opens its 2010 slate on Saturday, Sept. 4.

2010 Big Ten Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1      Ohio State
2      Indiana
T-3   Northwestern
T-3   Penn State
5      Michigan State
6      Michigan
7      Wisconsin

2010 Big Ten Men’s Soccer Players to Watch

Name

School

Yr.

Position

Hometown

Rich Balchan

Indiana

Sr.

Midfielder

Carmel, Ind.

Will Bruin

Indiana

Jr.

Forward

St. Louis, Mo.

Tommy Meyer

Indiana

Jr.

Defender

St. Louis, Mo.

Chris Blais

Michigan

Jr.

Goalkeeper

Seattle, Wash.

Justin Meram

Michigan

Sr.

Forward

Shelby Township, Mich.

Jeff Quijano

Michigan

Sr.

Defender

Simi Valley, Calif.

Colin Givens

Michigan State

Sr.

Defender

Troy, Mich.

Avery Steinlage

Michigan State

Sr.

Goalkeeper

Grand Haven, Mich.

Spencer Thompson

Michigan State

Sr.

Midfielder

Shelbytown, Mich.

Matt Eliason

Northwestern

Sr.

Forward

Lombard, Ill.

Oliver Kupe

Northwestern

Jr.

Forward

Clarkston, Mich.

Cody Stanley

Northwestern

Sr.

Defender

Lansing, Ill.

Matt Gold

Ohio State

Sr.

Defender

San Antonio, Texas

Sam Scales

Ohio State

Sr.

Midfielder

Louisville, Ky.

Konrad Warzycha

Ohio State

Sr.

Forward

Dublin, Ohio

Matheus Braga

Penn State

Sr.

Midfielder

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Drew Cost

Penn State

Sr.

Midfielder

West Chester, Pa.

Corey Hertzog

Penn State

Jr.

Forward

Reading, Pa.

Aaron Nichols

Wisconsin

Sr.

Defender

Woodstock, Ill.

Jon Rzepka

Wisconsin

Sr.

Midfielder

Kentwood, Mich.

Josh Thiermann

Wisconsin

Sr.

Midfielder

Stoughton, Wis.