Roughrider kickers ranked No. 3 in NJCAA; Dawn Stone goes from running to coaching
PRESCOTT – With the regular season less than three weeks away, the Yavapai College soccer team is already earning some of its traditional respect nationally.
The NJCAA officially releases its 2001 men's soccer preseason poll this Monday where the Roughriders will come in as the No. 3-ranked team in the country.
The three-time national champions finished 22-3 in 2000 and are tiered just below top-ranked Meridian, Miss., and No. 2-ranked Bryant & Stratton, N.Y.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Meridian won the NJCAA Championship last November over runners-up Bryant & Stratton.
But YC head coach Mike Pantalione knows that once the 2001 season opens Aug. 24, all bets are off.
"When you talk about the top four teams in the country, you can shuffle the deck anywhere you like," he said on Friday. "We're so evenly matched."
Coming in just behind Yavapai is its old nemesis from NJCAA Tournaments of the past, Mercer County, N.J., which finished 16-1 a year ago.
In weekly NJCAA men's soccer polls released since 1990, Yavapai has earned 31 No. 1 nods and has been ranked at least No. 2 or No. 3 every other week with two brief exceptions.
The Roughriders were the only Arizona team to crack the top 15 in this week's preseason poll. Mesa and Pima received votes in the "others" category.
In other YC news …
Former Yavapai College cross country standout Dawn Stone has been hired to replace longtime assistant and head coach Chris Bray.
She will work under her former mentor, Cylinda Bray.
Stone, a two-time NJCAA All-American, placed second at the National Meet last November and, more locally, won the Prescott Whiskey Row Marathon this past spring.
In May, Stone was named Most Outstanding YC Student-Athlete for her accomplishments athletically and academically.
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