WINTHROP, Mass. - The first-ever University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's soccer team was picked to finish twelfth in the 2018 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Preseason Coaches' Poll announced on Tuesday afternoon by the league's front office. The annual poll is voted upon by the conference's 12 head coaches. The Blue Jays will open their 2018 inaugural season on the road at MCLA on Friday, August 31. Kickoff is slated for 6:00 p.m.
Having advanced past the first round of the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Tournament each of the last two seasons, two-time defending GNAC champion Saint Joseph's College of Maine took the top spot in the 2018 GNAC Preseason Poll. The Monks earned 11 of the possible 12 first-place votes and 142 poll points overall, while Johnson & Wales grabbed the second position with 131 points.
Norwich University of Vermont finished third in the preseason ledger earning the final first-place tally and 115 points overall. The Cadets have appeared in the GNAC Championship contest each of the last two years after taking down JWU twice in the Semifinals. Regis was not far off with 101 points, putting the team in fourth for the preseason poll in just the team's second year with the conference.
Suffolk finished fifth in the poll with 94 points. Newly acquired Colby-Sawyer College rounded up 85 points to put themselves in sixth position on the preseason poll, while Emmanuel College followed in seventh with 74 points. Rounding out the rest of the teams were Albertus Magnus in eighth with 68 points followed by Anna Maria (39), Rivier (38), Lasell (32), and the Blue Jays (17) to complete the 2018 GNAC field.
For USJ, it will mark the Blue Jays' inaugural men's soccer campaign, as the institution becomes fully coeducational for the first time ever on campus this fall. Not only will USJ now have a male student body, but its athletic department will sponsor men's sport offerings for soccer, basketball, cross country and swimming & diving during the upcoming 2018-19 academic year.
2018 GNAC Men's Soccer Preseason Poll
1. Saint Joseph's (Maine) (11) - 142
2. Johnson & Wales - 131
3. Norwich (1) - 115
4. Regis (Mass.) - 101
5. Suffolk - 94
6. Colby-Sawyer - 85
7. Emmanuel - 74
8. Albertus Magnus - 68
9. Anna Maria - 39
10. Rivier - 38
11. Lasell - 32
12. Saint Joseph (Conn.) - 17
About the GNAC
Founded in 1995, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Each year, the GNAC sponsors and administers 20 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunities and community involvement.