Skyhawks looking to best ninth-place finish from 2016
EASTON, Mass. (August 11, 2017) – The Stonehill College men's soccer program has been picked to finish 10th in the Northeast-10 Conference by the league's 14 head coaches, the league announced Friday morning.
Branco returns to the Skyhawks as the leading scorer from 2016 and 2015
Returning NE10 regular season and tournament champion Adelphi University has been selected as the favorite, receiving 168 points and 12 of the 14 first-place votes, while Southern New Hampshire University was picked second with 147 points. Le Moyne College tallied 142 points and the remaining two first-place votes for the third mark. Runner-up Merrimack College (138) and Franklin Pierce University (126) rounded out the top five, as Southern Connecticut State University (96) landed in the sixth spot. Assumption College (91), American International College (90), and College of Saint Rose (64) finished seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively, as they bumped the Skyhawks to the 10th spot with 61 points. The University of New Haven claimed the 11th spot with 55 points, while Saint Michael's College (43), Bentley University (37), and Saint Anselm College (16) rounded out the 14 teams.
Stonehill aims to make a return to the NE10 tournament after just shyly missing out on playoff contention with a ninth-place finish in 2016. The Skyhawks posted an overall record of 7-10 and a conference mark of 5-8. Head coach Jim Reddish, the 2014 NE10 Coach of the Year, returns 11 players that had a great deal of playing time for his 10th season at the helm of his alma mater.
"I am looking forward to getting back to playoffs after falling one spot short the last two years," stated head coach Reddish. "This year, with a bigger senior class than last year, there will be more leadership. Losing only two starters, I am expecting the team to build off their experience from last year."
Senior Gallo helps out in the back line for his final season in the Purple and White
Senior forward Adam Branco (Naugatuck, Connecticut/Naugatuck), an All-NE10 third team selection in 2016 and second team in 2015 and classmate James O'Shea (Quincy, Massachusetts/Quincy) led the team last season with eight and six goals, respectively. Senior midfielder Connor O'Brien (Schenectady, New York/Guilderland Central) was first on the team with four assists during his junior campaign while starting 13 of the 17 matches.
Defense will be anchored by seniors Zach McCormick (Westfield, Massachusetts/Suffield Academy) and Matthew Gallo (Mendham, New Jersey/West Morris Mendham) and junior Patrick Doherty (West Milford, New Jersey/Saint Joseph Regional), while also returning is senior goalkeeper Conor McDonough (Bridgewater, Massachusetts/Coyle & Cassidy). Reddish welcomes six freshman to the squad this season and are expected to put in valuable playing time.
"This may be our toughest schedule ever, but opening with six-straight home games, and hosting another six later on, should help us get off to a good start," Reddish added.
Stonehill opens its 2017 campaign on Thursday, August 31 on Skyhawk Field, hosting non-conference Saint Thomas Aquinas College with a 4:00 p.m. start time. The Skyhawks open up the season with six-straight games at home, which is the most since its four-game opening streak in 2012.
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2017 Northeast-10 Conference Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Adelphi University - 168 (12)
2. Southern New Hampshire University - 147
3. Le Moyne College – 142 (2)
4. Merrimack College - 138
5. Franklin Pierce University - 126
6. Southern Connecticut State University – 96
7. Assumption College - 91
8. American International College - 90
9. College of Saint Rose - 64
10. Stonehill College - 61
11. University of New Haven - 55
12. Saint Michael's College - 43
13. Bentley University - 37
14. Saint Anselm - 16
(#) – indicates first-place vote