GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – The Wells College men's soccer team earned a fifth-place ranking in the first-ever North Eastern Athletic Conference Men's Soccer Preseason Poll, the league announced Wednesday afternoon. The final rankings were determined following a poll of the league's 13 head coaches.
Wells enters its 10th season as a varsity program fresh off of an 11-6-1 campaign that also included an impressive 7-3 record within NEAC play. Historically, the team has improved its winning percentage in six-straight seasons under Head Coach Dan Kane, who enters his seventh year with the Express in 2015. The squad returns virtually all of its starters after posting its lowest team goals-against average in 2014, allowing an average of 1.04 goals per game (second in the NEAC) while registering a team .835 save percentage.
"I am really proud of what the team was able to accomplish last year, especially after a challenging start," remarked Kane. "We will miss our seniors greatly, but the lessons they left us with - selflessness, perseverance and teamwork - will stay with the program forever. I am excited to get our season underway in just under one week."
The Express return its leading point scorer from a year ago as junior Hunter Sowersby (Sidney, N.Y.) chipped in with seven goals and two assists for 16 total points (7-2=16), finishing 10th among NEAC players. Senior Max Cherry (Ridgewood, N.J.) also returns after leading the team with five assists as a junior and sophomore Jim Duchesneau (South Glastonbury, Conn.), who potted three goals off the bench, will play a pivotal role in the team's midfield.
Defensively, Wells returns starting backstop Michael Sciotti (North Syracuse, N.Y.) after leading all NEAC goalkeepers in shutouts with seven. His 1.04 goals-against average was tops in the league while his .836 save percentage trailed only one player. Goalkeeper Owen May (Warsaw, N.Y.) also returns to the team after picking up a key non-conference win against Hilbert only a year removed from a discouraging 5-1 loss in 2013.
The reigning champion Mustangs from Morrisville State snatched first place, earning 138 total points while collecting 10 of a possible 13 first-place votes. Lancaster Bible College ranked second with 127 points and one first-place vote while Keuka College placed third, earning 115 points and a first-place vote. The Nittany Lions of Penn St.-Abington, who eliminated Wells from the postseason last year, captured fourth place. The SUNY Polytechnic Institute placed sixth and collected the final first-place vote.
Wells opens their season on Tuesday, Sept. 1 as they travel to play the Giants of Keystone College on the road at 7 p.m. They open their home slate of matches on Tuesday, Sept. 8, hosting perennial power Medaille at 3 p.m. on the South Athletic Field before hitting the road for a season-long five-game road trip. Wells opens NEAC play against Lancaster Bible on Friday, Sept. 18 on the road.
2015 NEAC Men's Soccer Preseason Poll Full Results
|Rank||Institution (First-Place Votes)||Total Points|
|1||Morrisville State College (10)||138|
|2||Lancaster Bible College (1)||127|
|3||Keuka College (1)||115|
|4||Penn State Abington||106|
|6||SUNY Polytechnic Institute (1)||91|
|9||Penn State Berks||58|
|10||Bryn Athyn College||47|