BENNINGTON, Vt. – Men's soccer coaches from the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) have selected the Southern Vermont College program to finish seventh this season based on a preseason vote.
Southern Vermont, headed by newly appointed Jamie Hutchins, is looking to make the NECC postseason for a fifth-straight year, despite going just 3-14 last year, 2-5 in league play. Nine Mountaineers return to the squad from the 2012 group, and Hutchins welcomes six newcomers to the team.
"Barring injury, I'm expecting to have more success than our preseason poll rates us," said Hutchins. "We're working very hard to achieve some high-level goals, and I'm proud of the way the team is reacting to that work."
Among those coming back are two All-NECC selections: First Team and senior Pierre Massena (West Milford, N.J.) and honorable mention junior Erik Argueta (Pico Rivera, Calif.). Massena made the top all-conference squad for the second consecutive year in 2012 after scoring the second-most goals for the Mountaineers (5) and assisting on two others; Argueta scored two and assisted six goals during that campaign.
Also returning to the team is sophomore Ruben Olivares (Pico Rivera, Calif.) who led the team with six goals and added one assist. Southern Vermont's main goalkeeper also comes back for his sophomore season as Chris Dunham (Valley Falls, N.Y.) will strap on the gloves for Coach Hutchins after a 2012 season in which he started 15 of the 17 Mountaineer games in net.
2012 NECC Champion Elms College was selected to finish atop the league, gaining five of the eight first-place votes. Lesley University was not far behind with three top nods, and Mitchell College followed at third.
The Mountaineers are preparing for their season-opening tournament hosted by McDaniel College and Stevenson University, with SVC slated to play at McDaniel Friday, August 30 at 4 p.m. and then at Stevenson on Saturday at 7 p.m. Southern Vermont opens up the home schedule September 4 when Castleton State visits for a 4 p.m. kickoff, and NECC play begins September 21 when Coach Hutchins and crew travel to Lesley University for a 3:30 p.m. match.
2013 Men's Soccer Preseason Coach's Poll (NECC Release)
- Elms (5)
- Lesley (3)
- Daniel Webster
- Southern Vt.
(Parenthese denote first-place votes)