The return of All-American senior forward Richard Isberner has the Rio Grande men's soccer team ranked No. 4 in the country.
Sat, Aug. 18, 2012 - [Men's Soccer]
Rio Grande Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The University of Rio Grande is ranked fourth in the 2012 NAIA men's soccer preseason coaches' poll.
The RedStorm received 479 points in the voting of a panel of head coaches representing each of the NAIA's conference/independents/unaffiliated groups.
Rio has been ranked in the top 10 for 37 consecutive polls and has now appeared in the top 25 52 consecutive times.
Head coach Scott Morrissey's squad returns a number of key performers from last year's team, which finished 19-3 and ranked No. 5 in the country following a 3-1 loss to William Carey (Miss.) in the quarterfinal round of the NAIA national tournament.
Leading the list of returnees is senior forward Richard Isberner , a first team All-American and the reigning Mid-South Conference Player of the Year. A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Isberner led the country in points (76), tied for the national lead in assists (18) and was second in the country in goals scored (29).
Also back for the RedStorm is senior forward Rafael Maccauro (Sao Paulo, Brazil), a first team All-MSC selection, who scored two goals and assisted on 15 others; senior midfielder Oliver Hewitt-Fisher (Swansea, Wales), who had six goals and 10 assists last season; and senior goal keeper Jack Marchant (Leeds, England), who recorded 54 saves and allowed just 20 goals in 22 games.
Rio's 2012 roster is also bolstered by the addition of Montreat (N.C.) College transfers Maximiliano Viera and Cesar Lopez, who helped lead the Cavaliers to an Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament championship last fall.
Viera, a junior midfielder from Montevideo, Uruguay, was a first team All-AAC pick after recording 17 goals and five assists. He ranked second in the league in goals and third in points.
Lopez, a sophomore defender from San Salvador, El Salvador, was named a third team all-conference honoree.
Lindsey Wilson, last year's national champion and the RedStorm's chief rival, topped the poll with 529 points. The Blue Raiders received all 19 first-place votes.
The top billing for head coach Ray Wells' team snapped a tie between Lindsey Wilson and Rio Grande for the most all-time No. 1 rankings. Both schools had 36 prior to the poll's release.
Rounding out the top five were Baker (Kan.), Southern Poly (Ga.), Rio Grande and William Carey.
The first regular season poll will be released September 4.
Rio opens its season with consecutive road contests at St. Xavier (Ill.) on August 24 and at Illinois Tech on August 26. The RedStorm's home opener is slated for Saturday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m., against Aquinas (Mich.) College.