SAVANNAH, Ga. — Preseason scrimmages and exhibitions are a thing of the past for the St. Andrews University men’s soccer team.
Now, the games count.
The Knights, led by reining Appalachian Athletic Conference Coach of the Year Stevan Hernandez, begin the season with expectations at an all-time high as they travel to Savannah, Georgia today for the regular season opener against Florida Memorial. St. Andrews will finish its trip south Saturday when it plays Savannah College of Art and Design.
After more than a week off, the Knights will return to action Sept. 10 to face Bob Jones in Greenville, South Carolina before hosting Point in their home opener Sept. 12.
St. Andrews finished 17-2-1 (7-1-1 in the AAC) last season, winning regular season and conference tournament titles en route to an NAIA Tournament bid. In the NAIAs, St. Andrews defeated Thomas 2-1 in the opening round before falling in overtime to eventual national champion Davenport, 3-2.
Hernandez’s team was tabbed as the preseason favorite to win its second straight conference crown, as the Knights received five first-place votes and totaled 76 points in the AAC coaches’ poll.
Reinhardt, out of Waleska, Georgia, was picked second by the coaches with four first-place votes and 75 points. St. Andrews defeated the Eagles 2-0 in last year’s conference championship game to earn a bid to the NAIA tourney after the two teams tied 1-1 in their regular-season meeting.
St. Andrews finished last season ranked No. 15 in the final NAIA poll, and the Knights enter this year ranked No. 16.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.