UMaine-Farmington garnered 29 points to take fifth, Thomas College has been selected as the preseason favorite in the 2018 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) men's soccer coaches poll. The Terriers were voted to finish No. 1 after receiving a total of 62 points, including six of the eight first place votes.
Husson University was selected second with 57 points and the remaining first-place votes, while Maine Maritime Academy finished third with 44 points. Newcomer SUNY Canton was voted fourth with 41 points. Rounding out the poll were Northern Vermont-Johnson in sixth (27 points), Northern Vermont-Lyndon in seventh (19 points), and UMaine-Presque Isle in eighth (8 points).
Voting for the preseason poll was conducted among the league's head men's soccer coaches.
The Terriers are poised to lead the North Atlantic Conference in the first year following changes in the conference. Colby Sawyer College, Castleton University, New England College and Green Mountain College competed in the NAC for the final time during the 2017-18 year. The conference welcomes new member institutions SUNY Canton and UMaine-Presque Isle for the 2018-19 campaign.
Maine Maritime, Thomas and Husson competed in the NAC Tournament last season. The 2017 quarterfinals saw Maine Maritime best Thomas 2-1 and New England College beat Husson 1-0. Colby-Sawyer College and Castelton University both won semi-final games after receiving the bye in the quarterfinals. Castelton went on to beat Colby-Sawyer for the NAC title, and then fell to Messiah in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
All eight men's soccer teams will kick off the 2018 campaign this weekend. The top six teams in the regular-season conference standings will qualify for the NAC tournament, which gets underway the final weekend in October, with quarterfinal action between seeds 3-6. The top two seeds will earn a bye in the first round and will take on the two quarterfinal winners in the semifinals on Saturday, November 3. The two semifinal victors will battle for the NAC championship on Sunday, November 4.
Click HERE to view the 2018 NAC Men's Soccer composite schedule.
2018 NAC Men's Soccer Previews
For more information on each team, click the school name to be directed to the men's soccer section of each school's website.
|5. UMaine-Farmington (8-9, 3-6 NAC) Head Coach Nathan Kronewetter returns for his 2nd season at the helm of a squad lead by key returners Junior defender Andrew Longhurst (Middletown, Del.) Senior midfielder Tristan Price (Moultonborough, NH) and Senior Goalkeeper Matt Wilson (Hamden, Conn.). Following an improved year both in program wins and development, the 2018 UMF Beavers look to add consistency to their play and hope to challenge for a NAC playoff position. After adding depth in every position and working hard in the off season, expectations are high for the 2018 squad. UMaine-Farmington opens September 1 at Wentworth College.|
|1. Thomas (8-9-1, 6-2-1 NAC) Head coach Chris Parsons enters his eighth season leading the Terriers. Thomas returns senior forwards Adam LaBrie (Yarmouth, Maine) and DJ Nicholas (Portland, Maine), while senior defenseman Benjamin Vigue (Yarmouth, Maine) returns to the backline in front of senior goalkeeper Jonathan Dutka (Durham, N.H.). The Terriers will also welcome in a strong recruiting class, which includes 10 newcomers. After missing out on the NAC Championship game for the first time in five years, Thomas will look to build off last year's experience in hopes of returning to the NAC Championship game this season. Thomas opens up at home against the Coast Guard Academy at 4pm on August 31.|
|2. Husson (8-8, 5-4 NAC) The Eagles are under the guidance of third-year head coach Gavin Penny. Husson will look to sophomore Nathan Firlings (Waterbury, Conn.) and senior Nick Whitehead (Limestone, Maine) to lead the offense while senior Dylan Bryce (Smithsburg, Md.) and junior Shuby Bodke (Mumbai, India) lead a defense that allowed 1.5 goals per game a season ago. Penny added nine new players to the squad including the return of senior forward Ian Lee (Madawaska, Maine). The Eagles will aim for its fourth NAC Championship in program history in 2018 and open with Wentworth on Friday, August 31st.|
|3. Maine Maritime Academy (5-10-3, 3-4-2 NAC). Billy Shannon returns for his third season as the Head Coach of the Mariners. 2017 Second Team All-Conference selection Evan Backus (Farmington, Maine) returns for his junior season after helping lead the Mariners to the NAC Semifinals last year. The Mariners look to build off of a strong non-conference schedule and make a run at the NAC Championship after upsetting the number three seed in last year's tournament. The Mariners hit the pitch August 31 at the University of New England.|
|4. SUNY Canton (8-9-2) Head Coach Tim Penrod enters his sixth season at the helm for the Roos in 2018. New to the NAC this year, the team welcomes back its top two scorers in Edward Malinoski, Jr. (Evans Mills, NY) and Kyle Smith (Evans Mills, NY). The high school teammates (Indian River) enter their senior seasons after combining for 25 points on nine goals and seven assists a season ago. The Roos also welcome back key contributors from 2017 in Connor Bruyn (Poughquag, NY), Ellis Sanchez (Pomona, NY) and goalkeeper Mouhammed Thiam (New York, NY). SUNY Canton welcomes a strong recruiting class which includes freshmen Will Austin (Broadalbin, NY) and Dustin Brown (Mastic, NY).The Roos open at home on August 31 against Wells.|
|6. NVU-Johnson (7-11, 2-7 NAC) Head Coach Shane Bufano (2nd season) leads key returners for the 2018-2019 season including Kyle Verchereau (Berlin, VT), Rob Buonanno (Wolcott, VT), Alex Vetere (Craftsbury, VT), and John Folsom (Califon, NJ). The Badgers look to build off of their strongest season in nearly a decade. The team returns all but one starter from last year with 15 promising newcomers to the Northern Vermont campus. They are poised to make a push to reach the playoffs for the first time since fall of 2010. The Badgers open at home on August 31 versus Vermont Tech.|
7. NVU-Lyndon (5-9-1, 1-7-1 NAC) The Hornets will be led by fourth year head coach Rob Carey. Seniors midfielder Abukar Hassan (South Burlington, VT) and defender Nolan Matthews (Massapequa, NY) return to lead the Hornets. Hassan tied for the team lead with four goals a year ago. Senior forward Hunter Torrey (Newbury, VT) and sophomore goalkeeper Caleb Derbyshire (Barton, VT) both return to the team after spending last year in Military Occupational Specialty school with the United States Marine Corps. Torrey netted eight goals and ten assists in 2016. The Hornets graduated nine seniors from last year and will have a refreshing new look and feel and expect to be very competitive in the NAC this season. The Hornets open play September 1 at in-state rival Norwich University.
8. UMPI (4-12) The UMPI Owls enter their first season as a member of the North Atlantic Conference with optimism running high. The Owls return 7 starters from last year's team who finished the season with a 4 -12 record against some quality opponents. Second year players Paul Kaplan (Embden, Maine) and Chris Udobi (Nigeria) were both selected to the ACAA all-conference team a year ago and will once again be looked upon to lead the Owls as they compete for a conference playoff spot. Third year player Chad Bartlett (Bradley, Maine) as well as 2nd year starter Ansumana Morrow (Presque Isle, Maine) will return to the Owls midfield. Veteran Coach Alan Gordon (27th season) leads the squad as they open at Green Mountain on September 1.