WINTHROP, Mass. – Ranked No. 19 nationally in the United Soccer Coaches Division III Preseason Poll, three-time defending league champion Saint Joseph's College of Maine has laid claim to the top spot in the 2019 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Men's Soccer Preseason Poll, as voted upon by the league's head coaches. The GNAC office unveiled the annual ledger on Thursday morning.
Norwich University finished a close second just four points back of Saint Joe's (seven first-place votes and 135 points overall), earning three first-place tallies and 131 points, while Johnson & Wales University was third with one first-place nod and 126 points. JWU topped Norwich, 2-0, in last year's GNAC Semifinals before falling to SJC in the championship match, 1-0.
Colby-Sawyer College finished fourth in the poll with 97 points after the Chargers advanced to the GNAC Semifinals a year ago. Emmanuel College received 81 points to round out the top-five.
The remainder of the poll in succession included Regis College, the University of Saint Joseph (Conn.), Albertus Magnus College, Suffolk University, Lasell University, Anna Maria College and Rivier University.
Led by fourth-year head coach Mike Haynes, Lasell will open up the 2019 campaign with a road trip to New York to face Union College and Skidmore College on August 30 and 31, respectively. The Lasers will play three more non-conference road games before the home opener on Saturday, September 14, which is also the GNAC opener against Colby-Sawyer College.
The Lasers return 15 veterans from last year's squad, including seven who started at least eight games. Key returnees include starting keeper senior Jackson Burhans (Berlin, N.Y.) and offensive standouts junior Simon Nigro (Simsbury, Conn.) and sophomore Jake Ouellette (East Granby, Conn.), who shared the team goal-scoring lead.
Lasell has improved its season record the past two years, finishing 4-12-2 overall and 3-6-2 in the GNAC last season.
Be sure to catch all of the regular-season and tournament action live on thegnac.tv or watch on one of our four custom digital streaming apps (broadcasts are produced by host institutions). The 2019 GNAC Men's Soccer Tournament dates are slated for November 2, Nov. 5, and Nov. 9 at highest seeds throughout.
2019 GNAC Men's Soccer Preseason Poll
1. Saint Joseph's of Maine (7) - 135
2. Norwich (3) - 131
3. Johnson & Wales (1) - 126
4. Colby-Sawyer - 97
5. Emmanuel - 81
6. Regis - 78
7. Saint Joseph (CT) - 71
8. Albertus Magnus - 69
9. Suffolk (1) - 64
10. Lasell - 36
11. Anna Maria - 32
12. Rivier - 16
(Courtesy of the GNAC Office)
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