GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – The two-time defending North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) men’s soccer champion Morrisville State College Mustangs will once again defend their crown as the preseason favorites, according to the coaches’ preseason poll.
Morrisville State collected 12 out of a possible 14 first-place votes to go along with a second-place selection to tally a total score of 168 points. The Mustangs, led by head coach Kyle Graves, will see 14 players and six starters return from last year’s championship squad that also won the regular season title with a 10-1-1 NEAC record while going 14-5-2 overall. Morrisville also advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year, hosting – and winning – a first-round contest for the second consecutive season. Offensively, junior forward Jamieson McKoy (Bronx, N.Y.) returns after tying for the conference lead with 13 goals while also tying for second in points (29) en route to being named to the 2015-16 All-Conference First Team. Senior forward Joe Sheehan (Liverpool, N.Y.) also returns up front for the Mustangs.
Despite the loss of NEAC Defensive Player of the Year Danny Peckham (Webster, N.Y.), the Mustangs will still have veteran leadership on the backline, anchored by senior and All-Conference First Teamer Alan Peckham (Webster, N.Y.), who capped the year by being named NEAC Tournament MVP.
The Wells College Express, the Lancaster Bible College Chargers and the Keuka College Wolves all garnered 142 total points, with tiebreaking procedures leaving the Express second, Chargers third and Wolves fourth. Wells, led by reigning NEAC Coach of the Year Dan Kane, return 15 players from last year’s squad that made an appearance in the NEAC Championship. That includes a pair of All-Conference Third Team selections in junior goalie Owen May (Warsaw, N.Y.), whose 0.71 goals-against average was second-best in the conference, as well as senior midfielder Jesse Constantino (Cincinnatus, N.Y.). Senior midfielder Tucker Adams (Eastampton, N.J.) and junior defender Jim Duchesneau (South Glastonbury, Conn.) also return for Wells.
Lancaster Bible has 14 players and eight starters returning from last year’s team that won a program-record eight NEAC games and made an appearance in the NEAC Tournament semifinals. Although they lost NEAC Player of the Year Josiah Groff (Lancaster, Pa.) to graduation, the Chargers have a trio of All-Conference honorees returning that include junior forward and First Team selection Edward Bills (York, Pa.), along with junior defender and fellow First Teamer Spencer Lockard (Bear, Del.) and sophomore midfielder and Third Teamer Eric Bailey (Lancaster, Pa.).
The Keuka College Wolves will see 21 players and eight starters return after tying the program-record for wins (12) last season and also advancing to the NEAC Tournament semifinals. They will be led by seniors Paulin Kolodja (Rochester, N.Y.) and Leandro Curran (New York City, N.Y.), who each earned All-Conference Second Team nods last season, along with classmate Rachid Blanken (Curacao) after a 15-point campaign. Sophomore and 18-game starter Noah Ogden (Rochester, N.Y.) returns at defense.
SUNY Polytechnic Institute garnered a first-place vote and tallied 121 total points to place fifth. Led for the 14th season by Peterson Jerome, who notched his 100th career victory a year ago, the Wildcats have 12 players and six starters returning from last season’s playoff squad, including sophomore defenseman Jeremiah Besse (Bethlehem, N.Y.). Penn State Berks, also coming off a playoff appearance, placed sixth with 104 points. The Nittany Lions also return 12 players and six starters, including a pair of All-Conference Third Team selections in juniors T.J. Yurkovic (Harrisburg, Pa.) and Jon Mercier (Gibsonia, Pa.). Penn State Abington registered the last remaining first-place vote and placed seventh with 100 points. Also returning 12 players, Abington will feature a 2015-16 All-Conference selection on both offense and defense in senior forward Richard Domico (Langhorne, Pa.) and junior defenseman Andrew Costa (Philadelphia, Pa.).
The full 2016-17 men’s soccer preseason rankings can be found below:
|Rank||Institution (First-Place Votes)||Total Points|
|1||Morrisville State College (12)||168|
|3||Lancaster Bible College
|5||SUNY Polytechnic Institute (1)
|6||Penn State Berks
|7||Penn State Abington (1)||100|
|9||Bryn Athyn College
|14||College of Saint Elizabeth||15|
*Tie broken by higher ordinal number points
The 2016-17 NEAC men’s soccer season will begin on Thursday, September 1. A full season schedule can be found on the NEAC website here. Be sure to follow all the action throughout the season using the free NEAC mobile app, Front Row, which can be downloaded here.
The preseason poll rankings were conducted by the NEAC men’s soccer coaches, with each coach ranking out all teams but their own using a staggered points system (13 points for a first-place vote, 12 points for second, etc.). No self-voting was allowed. This is the first year the NEAC has held preseason polls and they will now become a staple of all 18 conference-sponsored sports moving forward.
The North Eastern Athletic Conference has fourteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Bryn Athyn College, Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University - Abington, Pennsylvania State University - Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville State College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, and Wilson College. Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M Lacrosse & M Volleyball), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse & M Volleyball), Penn State Altoona (M Volleyball) and Rutgers University - Camden (M Golf). The North Eastern Athletic Conference has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of field hockey and men’s and women’s tennis.