Men's Soccer picked third in A-Sun Preseason Poll

Aug. 13, 2007

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A-Sun Release

After advancing to the semifinals of the 2006 Atlantic Sun Championship, the JU men's soccer team was picked to finish third in the 2007 A-Sun preseason coaches poll while senior forward Anton Axelsson, senior defender Brian Cocciolo and sophomore midfielder Jonathon Jackson were each named to the preseason all-conference team.

Campbell, which repeats as the preseason favorite despite reaching the semifinals last season, was selected to finish first with 88 points (three first-place votes). Stetson took the second spot with 82 points (three first-place votes), while the Dolphins (one first-place vote), Belmont and 2006 champion Gardner-Webb rounded out the top five. Mercer, USC Upstate, Lipscomb, North Florida and Florida Gulf Coast rounded out the rest of the field, respectively.

"It's nice that we are starting to get the recognition from the other coaches in the conference," said JU head coach Mike Johnson. "We are climbing the ladder and have pretty big expectations for the season. Third place is pretty accurate at this point, but our goal is to win the Atlantic Sun.

"Having three players voted to the preseason team is a reflection of what we are trying to do with our program. Our talent base has increased over the past few years."

Axelsson, who was the lone Dolphin to earn all-tournament honors in 2006, was named second team all-conference last year after ranking second in the conference with eight goals and five assists. In his two-year career, he has tallied 17 goals, 12 assists and 41 points.

"Anton has been among the top scorers in the conference the past few years," said Johnson. "He was overshadowed by Tommy Krizanovic in his first two seasons, but people know what an important player he is for us."

Cocciolo, who earned his first conference honor, enters the 2007 season as the squad's top defender. In three years, he has appeared in 55 games (54 starts) racking up two goals, two assists and six points. Jackson, who was an all-freshman selection in 2005, returns to the squad after sitting out the 2006 season.

"Cocciolo has always been an unsung player. He made it a personal goal of his to make all-conference, and I am glad to see he is on his way. Jackson missed all of last season, but after his freshman year, people know what he can do."

JU, which begins fall practice on Wednesday, opens the 2007 season against DePaul on Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. in the Loyola University Chicago Tournament.