ALBANY — The Darton State College men’s and women’s soccer programs are ranked 3rd and 8th, respectively, in the NJCAA’s preseason Top 25 polls that were released this week.
The polls, however, curiously placed the Darton teams in the very positions in which they finished following the national tournaments last fall, leaving at least of the Cavs’ coaches skeptical about the rankings.
“Makes you wonder if they’re really doing their homework,” said Darton head women’s soccer coach Ken Veilands, whose program has consistently been one of the best in the nation during the past five years. “That’s all right. We’ll take care of business. We have to make it to (the national championships in) Melbourne and go from there. That’s the plan. Of course we want to move up the ladder and get in the top four for seeding purposes.”
On the men’s side, the Cavaliers spent all of the 2012 season ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA polls for the first time in school history. They finished the NJCAA national championship tournament, which was hosted by Darton for the first time in school history, tied for third place after a loss to eventual champion Tyler Community College (Tex.).
And although they are not entering this season No. 1 in the poll, the Cavs will step into 2013 without the pressure of defending a No. 1 ranking and without the weight of hosting a 12-team, national championship event.
“Our program is used to this, year-in and year-out, being ranked in the top five,” Darton men’s head coach Bart Sasnett said. “It’s a nice gesture, but our goal is to be number one in November.”
The men’s team will open the 2013 season Aug. 25 against Monroe College at Georgia Perimeter College in Dunwoody, while the Lady Cavs will kick things off Thursday at Mississippi Gulf Coast College.