Above photo by Russell Marwitz/True To The Cru/russellmarwitz.com
BELTON- UMHB, the reigning ASC regular season champions, have been picked No. 2 in the ASC Preseason Poll, which was released Wednesday. The Cru was edged by Concordia (TX) by just three points in the annual preseason poll, voted on by league head coaches and sports information directors.
In a unique scenario, the voting for the league’s preseason favorite was split almost evenly, with UMHB actually accumulating nine first-place votes to Concordia’s seven. However, the voting system awards points to each team based on where each voter places the team in his or her poll, producing the narrow result in the top spot. Hardin-Simmons picked up two first-place votes, finishing fourth to UT-Dallas, who did not have a single top vote but received a total of 149 points. Ozarks, in fifth, and Sul Ross State, picked No. 10, each also earned a first-place vote.
The complete ASC Preseason Poll is below (total points in parentheses)
- Concordia (TX) (183)
- UMHB (180)
- UT-Dallas (149)
- Hardin-Simmons (142)
- Ozarks (120)
- LeTourneau (90)
- ETBU (86)
- McMurry (71)
- Howard Payne (43)
- Sul Ross State (36)
Additionally, the Cru had three representatives on the “Players to Watch List”, in defender Raymond Kennedy, and midfielders Nick Villanueva and Sawyer Young. Villanueva is one of the team’s most notable returners this season, having won the conference’s 2021 Midfielder of the Year honor. Kennedy started all 17 games last year on the backline, helping UMHB shut out six opponents while earning First Team All-ASC honors. Young was also a 17-game starter as a true freshman in 2021, finishing with 10 shots and one assist.
UMHB begins its regular season schedule in Houston on Sept. 1 in a 3:30 p.m. match at the University of Houston-Victoria, which is an NAIA program.