Entering the 2017 season on the heels of the program’s third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, the No. 25 Merrimack College men’s soccer program will begin the year nationally ranked as unveiled in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll.
This fall marks the third time in as many years that the program has begun the season among the top-25 programs in the country. The Warriors are one of three Northeast-10 Conference representatives in the poll, joining fifth-ranked Adelphi University and No. 22 Southern New Hampshire.
Head coach Tony Martone begins his 36th season at the helm of the Navy and Gold as the 16th-winningest coach in Division II history. He returns a group of core players that led Merrimack into the second round of the NCAA Tournament and won 15 games for the third straight season.
Graduate student Josue Ruiz Maya (Madero, Mexico) returns for a fifth season to man the Warriors’ backline following an all-league second-team selection as a senior. Senior Michael Dushman (Bedford, Mass.) expects to man the backline with Ruiz Maya following a versatile three seasons playing as both a defender and a striker, while junior Sergio Martinez (Tampico, Mexico) started 16 games last season as Merrimack’s holding midfielder. All three players will serve as team captains in 2017.
Headlining the other returners, junior Lars Sund (Stavanger, Norway) will once again serve in an attacking role after leading Merrimack in scoring as a sophomore. An All-American, All-Region and All-Conference performer, Sund posted 18 points on five goals and eight assists to establish career bests in all three categories.
Other impact returns for the Warriors include seniors Juan Meza (Cali, Colombia) and Mattia Lanzi (Viterbo, Italy), sophomores Aasmund Joedahl (Ridabu, Norway) and Sebastian Toro (East Boston, Mass.) as well as goalkeepers Tyler Packett (Eastham, Mass.) and Cody Russell (Oceanside, Calif.).
Merrimack begins preseason camp on Monday with its first game scheduled from Friday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m. against Caldwell University as part of the Merrimack Kickoff Classic.--
Mike McMahon has covered Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune since 2006 and he also has been a senior writer at College Hockey News since 2005.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN and you can follow the site @TheMackReports.