Three teams from Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, topped preseason polls for the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference. Competition begins Friday, when the men’s soccer team hosts Bethany at the Herb Lauffer Memorial Tournament.
The soccer team has the benefit of experience: Five seniors and three juniors will start for the squad, including senior Eric Hackworth, the AMCC Defender of the Year for 2012.
“We have the experience, and we have a lot of versatility,” coach Dan Perritano said. “We also have some good young energy coming in. That pushes the players.”
The women’s soccer team is younger: Just two seniors and two juniors will start.
“Those four players are going to be critical, both on and off the field,” coach Patrick O’Driscoll said.
The 2012 squad won the AMCC championship with a 2-1 double-overtime win over Pitt-Bradford. Preseason voting by the league’s head coaches has the Penn State Behrend team in the top spot for this year’s season, which begins Saturday against Baldwin Wallace.
O’Driscoll is eager to see his new players on the field. “At the beginning of every season, there’s a sense of excitement,” he said. “Everything’s new. Everything’s still in front of you.”
The women’s volleyball team also topped the AMCC preseason poll. The team will be led by senior captain and setter Chelsea Magnusen, a two-time All-AMCC player. She led the conference in assists in 2012 and has been selected as Preseason Player of the Year.
The volleyball team opens its season at Westminster on Friday.