NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. –After recording their highest finish in league in play in five years, UMass Boston men's soccer was picked to finish fifth in the Little East Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll with 34 points, the league announced Thursday morning.
The Beacons led by tenth-year head coach Myles Berry will look to break through the league's elite and make the Little East Conference Tournament for the first time since 2006.
Eastern Connecticut State, the reigning Little East Conference Champion, earned five first place votes, while UMass Dartmouth claimed one and Keene State College grabbed the remaining two. These four teams have claimed all one of the top four spots in the Little East Conference Tournament in the regular season standings each of the past three years.
The rest of the coaches' poll was rounded out with Plymouth State (24 points), Western Connecticut State (15) and Southern Maine (13 points).
Last season, UMass Boston finished in fifth place in the league with a 3-4 record-with all four losses coming against the top four teams in this year's coaches' poll. Three of the four contests were decided by one goal, including road losses at Rhode Island College (2-1) and UMass Dartmouth (2-1).
Berry and his squad hope for much better results in 2012 with eight starters back from a team that finished 11-6 and earned a spot in the ECAC New England Tournament.
Stefanos Galouzis (Watertown, MA) highlights the team's returners, as the 2011 Little East Conference Offensive Player of the Year returns for his third season. As a sophomore, Galouzis led the conference with 33 points and finished second in goals (13) and assists (7) in the Little East
Goaltender Brycen Dowd (Mansfield, MA) has a chance to go down in UMB lore as the greatest goaltender in program history after finishing 10-6 with a program-record seven shutouts last season. And senior midfielders Reyn Johnson (Manilao, Guam) and Victor Hugo Costa (Malden, MA) will lead a midfield group that brings back all but one key performer.
The Beacons will open their 2012 campaign September 4 when they host Suffolk University at 3:30 p.m. at the Clark Athletic Center Field.
|2012 Little East Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll|
|Rank||Institution||First Place||Total Points|
|1||Eastern Connecticut State University||5||61|
|2||University of Massachusetts Dartmouth||1||52|
|3||Keene State College||2||51|
|4||Rhode Island College||38|
|5||University of Massachusetts Boston||34|
|6||Plymouth State University||24|
|7||Western Connecticut State University||15|
|8||University of Southern Maine||13|