The Northeast Conference (NEC) unveiled its 2019 women’s soccer preseason poll on Tuesday afternoon, determining the preseason predictions for the upcoming season based on a vote by the conference’s 11 head coaches. The Merrimack College women’s soccer program was selected to finish in the No. 11 spot in its debut appearance in the poll.
Defending NEC champion Central Connecticut took home nine of a possible 10 first-place votes to earn top billing in the poll. The Blue Devils won a pair of 2-1 contests last season after winning the regular season championship to win the tournament. Saint Francis University (1) and Fairleigh Dickinson (1) received each of the final two first-place tallies to rank in second and third, respectively.
Bryant, Mount Saint Mary’s, Sacred Heart, Robert Morris, Long Island University, Wagner, Saint Francis Brooklyn and Merrimack rounded out the poll in spots No. 4-11. Merrimack will play a full NEC schedule in 2019, but will not be eligible for postseason play.
Head coach Gabe Mejail enters his 36th season on the Merrimack sidelines in 2019. He owns 488 career victories in his esteemed 35 seasons, including 458 wins as the Warriors’ boss. Mejail’s squad boasts an impressive crop of returners including junior Izzy McDonnell, who led the team one year ago in goals (7) and points (18). In net, the goalkeeping tandem of senior Erin Fulton and junior Megan Langlois return after splitting time in 2018. The former made 10 starts and boasted a team-best 1.02 goals-against average and .839 save percentage. The latter started seven times, putting together a 1.84 GAA and a .778 save percentage.
Merrimack’s women’s soccer program will open the 2019-20 athletic year on Sunday, August 25, when the Warriors play the University of Hartford for a 12 p.m. non-conference match. The Warriors’ league schedule begins on Monday, Sept. 9, at Bryant (7 p.m.) while the program’s first-ever NEC game at Martone-Mejail Field will be on Thursday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. against Sacred Heart.
2019 NEC Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll
First-place votes in ()
1. Central Connecticut (9)
2. Saint Francis U (1)
3. Fairleigh Dickinson (1)
5. Mount St. Mary’s
6. Sacred Heart
7. Robert Morris
10. St. Francis Brooklyn