Defending three-time GNAC champion Wildcats grab all 10 first-place votes
WINTHROP, Mass. – Johnson & Wales University (RI) received 10 of a possible 10 first-place votes to grab the top spot in the 2016 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men's Soccer Preseason Poll, as voted upon by the league's head coaches.
The Wildcats received 100 points in the ledger as they get set to open up the fall campaign by hosting the JWU Cup beginning on September 2. For the complete preseason poll results, please see below.
The second-, third- and fourth-ranked teams in the preseason poll were separated by a mere three points, as Saint Joseph's College of Maine finished second with 75 points, followed by Mount Ida College with 74 points and Norwich University with 73 points.
Saint Joseph's, led by third-year Head Coach Adrian Dubois, looks to compete for the program's third GNAC Championship – and first since 2011 – with a young roster featuring just two seniors: Sean Baker (Medfield, Mass.) and Nicholas Borowski (Webster, Mass.).
The Monks also return several players who capped the 2015 campaign ranked among the GNAC statistical leaders, including sophomore forward Brett Mattos (Mahopac, N.Y.), who tallied 13 goals (2nd) and 28 total points (2nd), and junior forward Austin Bell (Gorham, Maine), who tied for the league lead with nine assists and garnered All-Conference honors for the second time in as many seasons.
Sophomore keeper Blake Mullen (Manchester, Conn.) split time in net with departed senior Scott Benner last fall and finished the year ranked first in the conference in goals against average (0.88) and tied for the GNAC lead in save percentage (.786).
Saint Joseph's kicks off the 2016 season at Thomas College on Friday, September 2nd. Opening kick-off is set for 7:30 PM.
Albertus Magnus College, which fell to JWU in last year's GNAC Championship, rounded out the top-five with 66 points.
Emmanuel College took the sixth position in the preseason poll with 46 points, followed by Suffolk University with 41 points, Lasell College with 35 points, Rivier University with 23 points and Anna Maria College with 17 points.
Founded in 1995, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 12 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Each year, the GNAC sponsors and administers 17 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunities and community involvement.
2016 GNAC Men's Soccer Preseason Poll
1. Johnson & Wales (10) – 100
2. Saint Joseph's of Maine – 75
3. Mount Ida – 74
4. Norwich – 73
5. Albertus Magnus – 66
6. Emmanuel – 46
7. Suffolk – 41
8. Lasell – 35
9. Rivier – 23
10. Anna Maria – 17
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 474-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.