Spartanburg, S.C. – Coming off a strong sophomore season when he earned second team all-conference honors from the A-Sun, USC Upstate junior Marvin Schmiege was named to the 2014 preseason all-conference team by the league's coaches.
In addition the preseason individual awards, the A-Sun also released the preseason coaches poll and Upstate was picked to finish seventh. Florida Gulf Coast, last year's regular season champion, and Lipscomb were picked as co-favorites to win the regular season championship with 43 points each. Lipscomb tallied three first-place votes, while FGCU had two. North Florida, with one first-place vote, was picked third with 31 points, tied for the spot with Northern Kentucky, which also garnered one first-place vote. Jacksonville was fifth with 27 points and was followed by Stetson in sixth with 12 points and Upstate with nine.
"This is a well-deserved honor for Marvin," said Upstate head coach Greg Hooks, who enters his 20th season at the helm of the Spartan program. "He is a very good player. He works hard on and off the field, is a team captain and an excellent student. He exemplifies what it means to be a student-athlete and we are all very proud of him."
Schmiege, from Berlin, Germany, is the leading returning scorer from last year's team. He earned all-conference honors after posting a pair of goals and assists for six points from his central midfield position. He was the most consistent offensive catalyst for the Spartans a year ago and is expected to once again be a leader on the team this season.
Schmiege, who owns a perfect 4.0 GPA as a Business Administration major, scored a goal in the first and last games of the season in 2013. His two assists came in the 13-game span in between the opener and season ending games. His standout sophomore season followed a solid freshman campaign in 2011 when he also posted two goals and two assists for six points in helping lead the Spartans to a tie for the program's most overall and most A-Sun wins since moving to Division I in 2007-08. He has four goals and four assists for 12 points in his career at Upstate.
In addition to Schmiege, 11 other players were named to the preseason all-conference team released by the A-Sun. Joining Schmiege on the team were A.J. Fleak (GK, Northern Kentucky), Aaron Guillen (D, Florida Gulf Coast), Luke Gearin (D, Lipscomb), J.J. Bostic (D, Stetson), Jay Bolt (D, North Florida), Steven Oliveri (M, Florida Gulf Coast), Omar Djabi (M, Lipscomb), Felipe DeSousa (F, Florida Gulf Coast), Henry Penagos (F, Florida Gulf Coast), Reece Holcombe (F, Lipscomb) and Alex Morrell (F, North Florida).
The A-Sun also announced the preseason award winners with Florida Gulf Coast's Rodrigo Saravia and Lipscomb's Omar Djabi being named the co-preseason players of the year. Lipscomb's Luke Gearin was named the preseason defensive player of the year, while Northern Kentucky's A.J. Fleak earned preseason goalkeeper of the year honors.
Upstate will play its first preseason contest Saturday night at 7 pm at South Carolina before hosting a pair of preseason games against Southern Wesleyan on Aug. 21 and USC Aiken on Aug. 26at County University Stadium. The Spartan's regular season opener is Aug. 29 at UNC Asheville with the home opener on Sept. 6 against Gardner-Webb.
"I think we have a good group of players," said Hooks. "We will rely on some young players to step in and contribute. The team's attitude and work rate have been great during the preseason. I think we have improved our level of talent and, hopefully, it will all come together for us."