After the UCF Women’s Soccer team received some preseason recognition last week, the Men’s Soccer team got some love of its own on Tuesday with the release of the American Athletic Conference preseason awards.
For the first time since the AAC’s inception, the Knights were voted as the preseason favorite to win the conference. They picked up 46 points, with four first-place votes, after a 8-6-2 season in 2017. Following a slow start to the Scott Calabrese era, UCF went unbeaten in eight straight games (seven wins, one draw) before falling in the conference tournament title game.
SMU, which edged out UCF in overtime for the tournament championship last year, came in as the preseason No. 2 in the AAC with 41 points (three first-place votes). The rest of the poll, as voted on by the conference’s coaches, played out as follows: UConn (38 points, one first-place vote), USF (34), Tulsa (26), Temple (19), Cincinnati (11), Memphis (nine).
The Knights also had three players named to the preseason all-conference team. Junior Cal Jennings and sophomore Yoni Sorokin were unanimous selections, while senior Andreas Steineger also received a spot.
Jennings finished the 2017 season with seven goals and four assists, with both marks being good for second on the team. Four of his seven goals were game-winners. As a freshman in 2017, Sorokin scored three goals and earned a first team all-conference spot. Steineger scored one goal last year, which helped him pick up Defensive Player of the Week in early October. He was a second team all-conference selection as a junior.
The Knights wrap up their exhibition schedule on Saturday at FAU before opening up the regular season at Penn State on Aug. 24.