The No. 22 Merrimack College men’s soccer program were selected to repeat as Northeast-10 Conference champions when the league unveiled its 2018 Preseason Coaches’ Poll on Friday. The Warriors received five first-place votes and 158 points overall to earn top billing in the annual early season projections.
The Warriors finished second in the regular season last year in the NE10, and edged eight-seeded Bentley in the NE10 Championship to claim their first conference tournament crown in two decades. Merrimack won the title behind a defense that totaled 11 shutouts – tied for the tenth most nationwide – and an offense that returns its three leading scorers from 2017.
Merrimack slotted just in front of Adelphi (155) to claim the top spot in the poll. Spots No. 3-5 were tightly contested with Southern Connecticut (139), Southern New Hampshire (138) and Le Moyne (131) splitting the remaining four first-place votes. Franklin Pierce (102) and Saint Rose (92) finished in sixth and seventh, respectively, to complete the top half of the rankings.
American International (88) finished in eighth to represent the final postseason qualifier in the poll, narrowly edging out 2017’s Cinderella, Bentley (83). Stonehill (58), Assumption (42), New Haven (35), Saint Anselm (32) and Saint Michael’s (21) landed in positions No. 10-14, respectively, to round out the predictions.
In three weeks’ time, the Warriors begin the 2018 season by hosting Caldwell University in their first of two games in the Merrimack Kickoff Classic.