Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
BILLS HIT FOES WITH 1-2 ALL-AMERICA COMBO Series: COLLEGE SOCCER PREVIEWS St. Louis University First in a Series of College Soccer Previews
St. Louis University seniors Shane Battelle and Brian McBride spent the summer playing soccer for the United States national B team, a collection of college all-stars that competed in the World University Games and toured Europe.
Seems they also spent a good deal of time trying to con their summer teammates, who will be their opponents this fall.
"We were telling the guys on the national B team that we didn't expect to have too much at St. Louis U. this season," Battelle said. "We were playing down our chances, trying to get their confidence up so we could surprise them."
But who was conning whom?
"Everybody was joking around that their team wouldn't be any good," McBride said. "Everybody wanted their team to be the sleeper. It didn't work."
Any chance the Billikens had to sandbag opponents disappeared earlier this month when Soccer America magazine ranked St. Louis U. sixth in its preseason poll.
The magazine also named Battelle and McBride to its preseason All-America team.
"That's certainly a first for us since I've been here," said coach Joe Clarke, who is entering his 11th season at SLU. "It's a credit to those two for the distinguished careers they've had."
The Bills, who will open the season Saturday night night at home against Loyola, return seven players who started 10 or more games last season, when St. Louis U. finished 18-4-1 after losing to Duke 4-3 in the second round of the NCAA playoffs. It was St. Louis U.'s 32nd year in the playoffs, an NCAA record.
Battelle and McBride make this edition of the Bills impossible to write off.
McBride, a forward from Arlington Heights, Ill., is on course to break Carl Gentile's SLU record for career points. McBride has 127 and needs 34 to surpass Gentile's three-season total of 160 (1963-65).
McBride has averaged 16 goals over three seasons, but he became Mr. Setup last season when he tied the school record with 17 assists.
"When he got the ball in the box, he had two men on him," Clarke said. "The other striker would find himself open a lot. That opened up a lot of opportunities and Brian utilized them well."
Battelle, a midfielder-sweeper from Hazelwood Central who spent his first college season at Southern Methodist University, is the Bills' defensive wizard. …