WINTHROP, Mass. - The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's soccer team was picked seventh in the 2018 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Preseason Coaches' Poll announced on Monday afternoon by the league's front office. The annual poll is voted upon by the conference's 13 head coaches. The Blue Jays will open up the 2018 campaign on the road at Manhattanville on Friday, August 31 at 4:00 p.m.
Eight-time defending GNAC champion Lasell was selected to repeat once again and nabbed the top spot on the preseason poll earning eight of the 13 first-place votes and 164 poll points. Johnson & Wales, who finished runner-up to the Lasers after dropping a 2-0 decision in the GNAC title game, grabbed the final five first-place votes and 161 poll points to sit in second on the preseason poll.
Saint Joseph's College of Maine took third place in the preseason ledger with 131 points after the Monks lost to Lasell in last year's GNAC Tournament semifinals. Just off the pace in the fourth spot was Emmanuel College with 128 points, as the Saints were upset at home in the GNAC Quarterfinals last fall.
Newest GNAC core member Colby-Sawyer College rounded out the top-five with 118 points. Last season's Chargers' squad earned the top seed in the 2017 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Tournament but were upset in the semifinals by Husson. After non-conference matchups with Plattsburgh State and Keene State, Colby-Sawyer will play host to its first-ever GNAC contest on Saturday, Sept. 8 against Simmons College, which finished sixth in the voting with 102 points following a GNAC Semifinals appearance last year.
Rounding out the rest of the poll was USJ with 95 points, Albertus Magnus College with 84 points, Suffolk University with 60 points, Regis (Mass.) with 56 points, Norwich University with 39 points, Rivier University with 32 points, and Anna Maria with 13 points.
Of those teams, USJ earned the No. 5 seed in last fall's GNAC Tournament, while No. 7 seeded Albertus Magnus forced JWU to penalty kicks in the quarterfinals, nearly bouncing the Wildcats from the league playoffs at home. Suffolk served as last year's No. 8 seed but was upended by Lasell.
2018 GNAC Women's Soccer Preseason Poll
1. Lasell (8) - 164
2. Johnson & Wales (5) - 161
3. Saint Joseph's (Maine) - 131
4. Emmanuel - 128
5. Colby-Sawyer - 118
6. Simmons - 102
7. Saint Joseph (Conn.) - 95
8. Albertus Magnus - 84
9. Suffolk - 60
10. Regis (Mass.) - 56
11. Norwich - 39
12. Rivier - 32
13. Anna Maria - 13
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.