MARSHFIELD, Mass. – Defending champions Mitchell College top the 2018 NECC Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll, collecting 74 points, along with three first place votes. The Mariners, led by 2017 NECC Coach of the Year, Damian Houlden, will return several key contributors from last year’s championship team, including First Team All-NECC performers, defenders TJ Condon (North Stonington, Conn.) and William Ferguson (Old Lyme, Conn.). Condon and Ferguson shored up a Mariner defense that only allowed seven goals in 2017 conference play, for a 1.00 goals-against-average.
Landing in second with 60 total points and three first place selections, is Dean College. The Bulldogs will be under the direction of first-year head coach Joseph Campbell. Campbell takes over a squad that took home a share of the regular season title in 2017, and will return NECC Rookie of the Year, and First Team All-NECC performer, Felipe Campos (Barnstable, Mass.). In his rookie campaign, Campos scored 11 goals in seven conference matches, also adding two assists for 24 total points. Overall, Campos tallied 18 goals, which tied for tenth in NCAA Division III, while his 1.29 goals-per-game average led Division III.
Finishing third in the polls with 57 points, and one first place vote, is newcomer New England College. The Pilgrims are coming from the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) where they finished with a 6-2-1 record in their final season. Led by head coach Dave DeCew, New England will return two First Team All-NAC performers, midfielder Cooper Valinski (Portsmouth, N.H.), and defender Carter Adams (Lebanon, N.H.). Valinski was second in the NAC with 13 goals, while Adams was a commanding presence on a Pilgrim defense that allowed only 1.71 goals-per-game.
Elms College was voted into the fourth slot, with a total of 54 points and one first place vote. Led by head coach Mike Wysocki, the Blazers will return 2017 NECC Player of the Year, Babba Jaden (Clarkston, Ga.) to the pitch. Jaden netted 14 goals and added two assists for a total of 30 points last season, leading the Blazers to a 5-2 conference record.
Coming in right behind Elms is Lesley University, with 51 points, as well as the remaining first place selection. The Lynx, led by head coach Jim Costa, returns two 2017 Second Team All-NECC honorees in midfielder Jack Wadleigh (Glastonbury, Conn.) and defender Ben Heischuber (Holliston, Mass.). Lesley was second in the league a season ago in goals against and goals-against-average, with 29 and 1.56, respectively.
Newbury College (34), Southern Vermont College (33), Eastern Nazarene College (22) and Becker College (16) round out the 2018 NECC Men’s Soccer Preseason Poll.
2018 NECC Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll
- Mitchell- 74 (3)
- Dean- 60 (3)
- New England- 57 (1)
- Elms- 54 (1)
- Lesley- 51 (1)
- Newbury- 34
- Southern Vermont- 33
- Eastern Nazarene- 22
- Becker- 16