UMBC Unanimously Tabbed 2014 #AEMSOC Favorite
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Winner of three of the last four America East titles, UMBC has been unanimously picked as the 2014 favorite in the conference's men's soccer preseason coaches' poll, the league office announced Tuesday afternoon. The voting was conducted by the conference’s eight head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
The Retrievers, who are ranked 19th in the NSCAA national preseason poll, received all seven first-place votes for the maximum 49 points. Last year's runner up, Hartford, received the remaining first-place vote and 42 points to come in second. New Hampshire was third with 34 points, while Stony Brook was fourth with 28 points, followed closely by Albany in fifth with 27 points. Vermont (24 points), Binghamton (12) and UMass Lowell (8) rounded out the eight-team poll. Here’s the full poll:
2014 Men’s Soccer Preseason Poll (1st-place votes)
1. UMBC (7), 49 pts.
2. Hartford (1), 42
3. New Hampshire, 34
4. Stony Brook, 28
5. Albany, 27
6. Vermont, 24
7. Binghamton, 12
8. UMass Lowell, 8
The 2014 regular season kicks off on Friday, Aug. 29 with all eight America East squads in action. Conference play begins on Saturday, Oct. 4 while the six-team America East Championship begins with quarterfinal action on Nov. 8 and continues with the semifinal round on Nov. 12. The conference champion will be crowned on either Nov. 15 or 16 with the winner of the tournament receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship, where America East teams have advanced to the second round in 10 of the last 13 seasons.
Fans can watch games in HD for free all season long at AmericaEast.TV, available on desktop and mobile devices.
Preview each of the teams below --
1. UMBC Retrievers
2013 record: 16-1-3, 5-0-2 (1st), AE Champion, NCAA 2nd Round
- UMBC had arguably its best season in program history in 2013, winning its first America East regular-season crown in 10 seasons, capturing its third league title in four years, peaking at #5 in the national polls and becoming the conference's first team to receive a bye to the second round of the NCAA College Cup.
- The Retrievers, who are ranked 19th in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Preseason Poll, bring back 22 letterwinners, including eight starters from last year's squad.
- Senior back Oumar Ballo, the reigning America East Defender of the Year and an All-American last season, headlines the returnees. He was named to the Hermann Trophy Preseason Watch List.
- UMBC opens its season against Long Island U. and will face five programs that reached the NCAA tournament last year (Delaware, George Mason, Maryland, Navy, William & Mary) in non-conference play.
2. Hartford Hawks
2013 record: 13-4-4, 4-2-1 (3rd), AE Runner Up
- Hartford brings back eight starters from a team that posted the program's most wins since 1996 and reached the America East title game for the second time in three years under head coach Tom Poitras.
- Junior striker Javoni Simms, a first-team All-America East selection last year, leads the returnees. He scored a team-best eight goals last season.
- Hartford posted a league-best 11 shutouts a year ago and sophomore goalkeeper David MacKinnon, an All-Rookie selection last year, will be back in the net in the 2014.
- The Hawks open their season at Holy Cross.
3. New Hampshire Wildcats
2013 record: 12-5-1, 5-2-0 (2nd), AE Semifinals
- New Hampshire posted a .694 winning percentage in 2013, the program's best since 1994.
- The Wildcats bring back the bulk of last year's squad, including the conference's reigning Goalkeeper of the Year, Travis Worra.
- Worra was instrumental in helping UNH register a 0.58 team GAA, which was the fourth-best mark in the nation.
- UNH starts its campaign with Northeastern.
4. Stony Brook Seawolves
2013 record: 6-10-1, 1-5-1 (T-7th)
- The Seawolves will try to rebound in 2014 after missing the America East Championship for the first time since 2008 last season.
- Martin Giordano will lead Stony Brook after pacing his team with 10 points a year ago and earning second-team all-conference honors.
- Stony Brook opens against Central Conn. State and will face #8 UConn on Sept. 1.
5. Albany Great Danes
2013 record: 6-11-4, 3-3-1 (T-4th), AE Semifinals
- Albany reached the America East semifinals for the second time in three years in 2013 and returns 14 letterwinners, including nine starters, from that team in 2014.
- Eighty percent of the Great Danes' scoring from last season will be back this season, including leading scorer Brandon Wilson and second-team All-America East midfielder Anthony Rozzano.
- The Great Danes open their season against Appalachian St. and will have nine home games this season.
6. Vermont Catamounts
2013 record: 9-5-4, 3-3-1 (T-4th), AE Quarterfinals
- Vermont brings back 22 players from last year's team, which recorded its third-straight winning season.
- Junior midfielder, Charlie DeFeo, a first-team all-leaguer last year, headlines the returning Catamounts. Had seven points a year ago.
- UVM starts its season at James Madison and will play at home seven times.
7. Binghamton Bearcats
2013 record: 3-11-5, 1-3-3 (6th), AE Quarterfinals
- Binghamton will have 19 letterwinners, including eight starters, back from last year's team.
- The Bearcats begin their season at Bucknell and will have 10 home games, their most at the Division I level.
8. UMass Lowell River Hawks
2013 record: 3-14-1, 1-5-1 (T-7th)
- UMass Lowell enters its second season of Division I play and will add 19 new players to its 12 returning letterwinners, who will be let by second-team all-leaguer, Homero Morais.
- The River Hawks travel to Monmouth for their season opener.