Despite a strong finish to the 2011 season and six veterans returning, IPFW was picked near the bottom of the Summit League pre-season men's soccer poll.
The Mastodons were selected to finish sixth in the eight-team league in a poll voted on by the league coaches.
IPFW finished 8-10-2 last season and earned the No. 2 overall seed in the 2011 Summit League Tournament. It was awarded 20 pre-season poll points.
Western Illinois was picked as the preseason favorite with 46 points and five first-place votes. UMKC (39 points, 1 first-place vote), Oakland (38, 2), Oral Roberts (28), and IUPUI (23) were all picked ahead of the Mastodons, with Eastern Illinois (18) and Nebraska Omaha (8) all picked behind the 'Dons.
The Mastodons return six starters from last seasons' squad, including Second Team All-Summit League selection Brent Helton and All-Newcomer Team honoree Myles Stanley, both in the back.
Goalkeeper Brandon Cloutier also returns, as well as Mitch Falkenstern and Nate Shipman, each of whom started 20 games a season ago in the midfield.
Kyle Ackerman will pace a young Mastodon attack, as the junior dished out three assists and scored one goal - the game-winner in overtime, in a match that clinched IPFW's berth into the postseason tournament.
The squad brings in 14 newcomers, including Austin West and Jose Rodriguez, each of whom played in the East West All-America game last season.
The Mastodons open the regular season on August 26 at Detroit at 1 p.m.