ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) announced on Friday the results of its 2018 men's soccer preseason poll with Southern Vermont College taking the seventh spot in the rankings.
SVC is coming off a 2017 campaign in which the program made the league's postseason tournament for the first time since 2012. The Mountaineers will once again be led by head coach Greg Gilmore '12 who returns for his third season with an expectation of building off of last year's success.
"Our goal is to host another playoff match at Everett Field," Gilmore said. "The league has gotten a lot stronger, so we are going to need to improve on last year. I'm expecting for the returners to learn from last year and be ready for the adversity of a full college season; with their leadership, we should see a much improved performance on the field.
Southern Vermont earned a home game in the '17 tournament by going 3-4 in Conference action—a record good enough to grab the No. 4 seed. Unfortunately, the Mountaineers fell 4-0 to fifth-seeded Newbury College for a final overall record of 5-15.
"Anytime you return to the playoffs after a long absence, I think it helps recruiting," Gilmore said, "but more importantly, we are only really missing two guys who started in that playoff game. That's a lot of returning playoff experience that I think will help us over the season. We have a lot of exciting new talent, and we have a tremendous opportunity to turn another page for SVC Soccer."
Gilmore has 16 players coming back to once again don the Southern Vermont uniform, and he has eight Mountaineers who are new to the program. That group of returners is comprised of two seniors, four juniors, and 10 sophomores; Gilmore will have leadership at each of those levels with his captains being senior Nikolas Joseph (Coventry, Conn.), junior Lee Dennis (Chocorua, N.H.), and sophomore Sam Duchesneau (Rochester, N.H.).
Also returning for the Mountaineers are a pair of sophomores who garnered NECC recognition in '17. Jared Lacoste (Arlington, Vt.) was selected to the Conference's All-Second Team after leading SVC with eight goals on the year (tied for fifth in the NECC), and Nick Langat (Silver Spring, Md.) was named the NECC Rookie of the Week during the course of the season.
"I expect to attack a lot more this year," Gilmore added. "The past two seasons, while going through the rebuilding process, we've had to sit in and hope to win close, low-scoring games. We never want to let in goals, but we want to start playing 'SVC Soccer' and having a bigger part in controlling the flow of the game."
The NECC men's soccer poll was one of the more debated of the league's fall sports with five of the nine teams collecting at least one first-place vote.
Southern Vermont starts the regular season with the Salem State University Tournament August 31-September 1. The NECC schedule begins on September 15 when SVC visits Mitchell College, and the Mountaineers are set to hold Senior Day on September 27 in conjunction with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff against newly-membered Eastern Nazarene College.
2018 NECC Men's Soccer Preseason Poll
1. Mitchell – 74 (3)
2. Dean – 60 (3)
3. New England – 57 (1)
4. Elms – 54 (1)
5. Lesley – 51 (1)
6. Newbury – 34
7. Southern Vermont – 33
8. Eastern Nazarene – 22
9. Becker – 16
(Parentheses denote first-place votes)
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