Salem, Mass.— The 2017 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference men's soccer regular season and tournament champions Salem State have been picked to repeat this season as selected by the eight coaches from around the league.
Salem State received six first place votes for 47 points in this year's poll. The Vikings finished the MASCAC season 7-0 on their way to the conference regular season title. Returning for the defending champs is All-Conference goalie Chris Jimenez (Nashua, N.H.), who between the pipes last season led the league in goals against average (0.98) and save percentage (.838) while finishing third in saves (83) and goals against (16).
Earning a first place vote with 40 points for the second spot is Bridgewater State. The Bears were 3-3-1 during the 2017 campaign. Returning in goal for the Bears, Nate Morgado was second in the league in wins with six, third in GAA at 1.39 and saves with five and fourth in saves with 78 on his way to earning All-Conference accolades last season.
Salem State head coach Matt Correia transformed the men's soccer program in his inaugural season, leading the Vikings to their first MASCAC title in seven seasons after four straight losing campaigns. The Vikings produced a 12-6-1 record in 2017, highlighted by their first undefeated conference record (7-0) since 1999. Salem State played valiantly in their NCAA opening round match, but lost 2-1 to #13 Amherst. This season, expectations remain high as Salem State pushes for another conference title and run towards the NCAA Tournament.
Despite the loss of MASCAC Player of the Year and All-Region forward Mayele Malango (Lowell, Mass.), Salem State returns three All-Conference first-team selections from a year ago. Grace Dos Santos (Brockton, Mass.) returns to lead an accomplished offense. Dos Santos added six goals and five assists. Second-year player Dominique Panmo (Lynn, Mass.) developed into one of the top backs in the league last season, starting 17 games as a freshman, and along with returning goalie Jimenez, who led the league with 11 wins and a 0.91 goals against average, spearhead a strong defensive group.
Newcomer Gabriel Meireles (Everett, Mass.) is a dynamic center midfielder who will help offset the loss of Malngo while Patrick Filetti (Newburyport. Mass.) a former Cape Ann League First Team All Star, is another veversatile player who can play multiple positions and will be a welcomed addition to Salem State's arsenal this season.
"We have a lot of young players who gained valuable experience last season. Our team has 17 players who are freshmen or sophomores and we could have a few different players emerge as leaders. We do not have many seniors, but Luke Moylan (West Boylston, Mass.) and Gus Savage (Georgetown, Mass.) will give us something that will help us in our pursuit of success."
"We have high expectations going into this season. This year we will be going into games expecting to win. Our team is still young, but much more experienced. We hope to take all that we learned from last season and continue to build on it. Our goal is to compete for another MASCAC Championship and strive to be one of the top teams in New England."
Friday, August 31 vs. Southern Vermont
@ Alumni Field 6:00 PM
|MASCAC PRESEASON POLL|
2018 MASCAC Men's Soccer Pre-Season Coaches Poll
(First Place Votes In Parentheses)
1. Salem State (6) 47 points
2. Bridgewater State (1) 40 points
3. Framingham State 31 points
4. Worcester State (1) 30 points
Westfield State 30 points
6. Massachusetts Maritime 28 points
7. MCLA 11 points
8. Fitchburg State 7 points