Mesa men’s soccer team picked to win RMAC

Colorado Mesa men’s soccer coach Todd Padgett, like most coaches, isn’t wild about preseason polls. Midfielder Moshe Perez, though, loves the fact that the Mavericks were voted No. 1 by the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference coaches, which, he said, gives them even more incentive.

“As a player, you always want to have that responsibility,” Perez said Tuesday. “I like it; I’d rather be that team that has a target on them and everyone wants to beat instead of just another team just playing and not having any goals for the end of the season.”

Padgett likes the respect the Mavericks have earned from other coaches.

“It speaks volumes about where the program is at, to garner that respect now is something we’ve worked very, very hard toward,” Padgett said. “But that said, am I the biggest fan of preseason rankings? No, but I don’t know many coaches who are. It’s one of those things, a lot of it is based on what you did last year and what you have coming back this year, but the season is so long, it’s so grueling and such a process that we don’t put a lot of stake in preseason rankings. What we tell the guys is that’s exactly where we want to be come the final match.”

Perez and junior goalkeeper Briley Guarneri made the preseason all-conference team, with the Mavericks getting five first-place votes and 91 total points to edge Colorado Mines by one point. Guarneri was voted the preseason goalkeeper of the year and senior Slater Elkind the preseason defensive player of the year.

The Mavericks open the season at 7 p.m. on Friday at Walker Field against Lubbock Christian, and face Newman University at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The CMU women were picked to finish sixth, receiving 91 points from the 13 conference coaches. Colorado Mines grabbed 10 first-place votes and 140 points as the overwhelming pick to win the conference. No CMU players received preseason all-conference honors. Mesa’s first game is Thursday afternoon at Humboldt State, with the Mavs playing at No. 22 Sonoma State on Saturday afternoon.


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