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Aug. 20, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Big Ten men's soccer coaches have spoken and tabbed newcomer Maryland the preseason favorite followed by Michigan State, Michigan and two-time defending Big Ten winners Penn State in fourth. Three Nittany Lions -- Owen Griffith (Lewisburg, Pa.), 2013 Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year Andrew Wolverton (Atlanta, Ga.) and Mikey Minutillo (San Jose, Calif.) -- were tabbed Big Ten preseason players to watch.
For a third straight season, the Nittany Lions will look to overcome their preseason pick by the league's coaches en route to a third consecutive conference crown. In both 2012 and 2013, Penn State was the preseason No. 5 team in the conference before earning those titles, while this year PSU is fourth. Behind the Lions are Indiana, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Rutgers and Ohio State rounding out the nine-team conference.
Each team receives three slots on the players to watch list and captains Griffith and Wolverton feature once again for PSU. Griffith is a two-time All-Big Ten Second Team honoree, while Wolverton gained NSCAA All-Great Lakes First Team mention in the 2013 season where he was the league's top netminder. A redshirt-senior in 2014, Minutillo heads up the offensive corps after missing the 2013 season.
Penn State, a preseason No. 15 team in the NSCAA preseason poll, opens its 2014 campaign next week against Oakland (Aug. 29, 8 p.m.) at Jeffrey Field followed by a home match against St. John's (Aug. 29, 7 p.m.). Admission and parking are free to all PSU soccer regular-season home events.