North Adams, MA- The MCLA Men's Soccer program was selected to finish third in the MASCAC preseason poll released this afternoon by the league offices. The Trailblazers went 2-2-3 a year ago and advanced into the semifinals before falling to Bridgewater State. The Bears were tabbed as the preseason favorite to upend last year's tournament champion Fitchburg State.
Three All- Conference honorees return for MCLA in Dylan Periera, Edward Boateng and Anthony Basile. Basile finished last season second in the conference in goals with nine, points with 20 and shots with 53. MCLA opens play on Tuesday, September 1st at home against SUNY Poly.
Bridgewater is the reigning MASCAC regular season champions and claimed two of the first place votes for 48 points. Last season, the Bears finished with a 5-1-1 MASCAC record and made a trip to the MASCAC Tournament Championship game. They will look to 2014 MASCAC Player of the Year Conor Murtagh to lead the team. Murtagh led the league in goals (10) and points (22).
Massachusetts Maritime is picked second with three first place votes for 39 points. The Buccaneers were 4-2-1 during the 2014 league schedule. Joe Cohen returns in goal for the team after leading the conference in save percentage (.882), goals against average (0.77) and shutouts (7) plus second in saves (97).
Reigning MASCAC Tournament Champions Fitchburg State nabbed two first place votes for 30 points. The Falcons were 4-3 during the league regular season. Fitchburg State made a run in the MASCAC Tournament last season to earn the title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Framingham State and Worcester State have been picked in fifth and sixth with 29 and 25 points, respectively. The Rams were 3-3-1 during league play last season. Cory Cardeiro is back for the team after tallying eight goals and 19 points. The Lancers, who earned the final first place vote, were 2-4-1 last year during MASCAC play. Second Team All-Conference honoree Joshua Evans returns for the team after leading the conference with six assists during the 2014 season.
Westfield State and Salem State round out the men's soccer poll is seventh and eighth, respectively. The Owls claimed 18 points while the Vikings earned nine. Westfield State tallied two wins during conference play and bring back Zack Horn and Jack Fisher who had three and two goals, respectively. Salem State also earned two wins last season. Kevin Gallo returns for the Vikings after scoring six goals and an assist for 13 points last season.
The MASCAC men's soccer squads kickoff the 2015 season the week of August 31 with non-conference play.