Men's Soccer Selected First In NJAC Preseason Coaches Poll


PITMAN, NJ - After earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season en route to finishing 17-4-1 overall in 2017, Rowan University has been selected as the 2018 men's soccer preseason favorite in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. The Profs will be seeking their 14th NJAC title overall, but their first since 2003. Rowan received 9-of-the-10 first-pace votes cast by the league's head coaches. The 2017 Profs were the NJAC regular season champions with a league-best 8-0-1 record in conference play. Reigning NJAC Coach of the Year Scott Baker has guided his alma mater to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances during his four seasons and an overall record of 60-22-2, while his career collegiate men's soccer coaching record stands at 66-33-2. Rowan returns four first-team all-conference players from its 2017 NJAC regular season championship squad, including senior forward Shane Doherty, junior forward Matt Hendrickson, senior back Will Sjaastad, and the 2017 NJAC Defensive Player of the Year in junior back Modou Sowe. Montclair State University, which last captured the NJAC title in 2016 and has garnered six conference crowns in the last 12 years, was selected to place second. The 2017 Red Hawks finished 13-7-1 overall while finishing third in the NJAC conference race with a 5-4 league mark. Led by eighth-year head coach Todd Tumelty, MSU has posted an overall mark of 120-32-10. The Red Hawks return a pair of all-conference players from their 2017 squad including senior midfielder Rafael Terci and senior goalkeeper Mike Saalfrank. Rutgers University-Newark which claimed its first NJAC championship in 2017 en route to a 20-3-1 overall record, was selected to finish third and received one first-place vote. The 2017 Scarlet Raiders claimed the league crown with a 1-0 championship game road victory at top-seeded Rowan. Rutgers-Newark then proceeded to defeat Bowdoin, 3-2 in penalty kicks after a scoreless draw to mark the second straight season that the program has advanced to at least the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The 2017 Scarlet Raiders finished second in the NJAC regular season with an 8-1-0 record in NJAC play. Led by an individual who has claimed NJAC championships as both a player and a head coach, 12th-year man Kevin East has produced an overall record of 161-76-15 during his tenure in Newark, while East's career collegiate coaching record stands at 279-142-26. Rutgers-Newark returns a trio of all-conference players from its 2017 NCAA Tournament squad, including senior forward Stefano Muniz, senior back Brandon Goldy and senior midfielder Breno Lustosa. Stockton University, which finished fifth in the 2017 NJAC race with a 4-3-2 league record, was selected to place fourth. Fourth-year head coach Greg Ruttler has guided the Ospreys to a 35-18-9 record during his tenure in Galloway, including an overall mark of 14-4-4 in 2017. Stockton returns a pair of all-conference players from the 2017 season in senior midfielder Joseph Dikmak and senior midfielder Eucario Solano. The coaches' dark horse selection, Kean University was selected to place fifth. The 2017 Cougars finished 10-7-1 overall after posting a fourth-place regular season finish with a 5-4-0 league record. Second-year head coach Peter-John Falloon enters his second season at the helm of his alma mater's program with a career collegiate coaching record of 88-82-15. Kean returns a pair of all-conference players from its 2017 squad including senior forward Erick Reyes and the 2017 NJAC Rookie of the Year in sophomore forward Vinceroy Nelson. William Paterson University, which advanced to the second round of the 2017 ECAC Tournament en route to an 11-6-4 overall record, was selected to place sixth. Led by the longest-tenured NJAC men's soccer coach in Brian Woods, the Pioneers have posted an overall mark of 216-222-50 during his 26 seasons in Wayne. WPU returns a trio of all-conference performers from its 2017 ECAC Tournament squad, including junior midfielder Cameron Allen, junior forward Keysean Brant-Sharp, and senior back Zach Perez. Rutgers University-Camden, which advanced to the championship match of the 2017 ECAC Tournament, was selected to place seventh. The Scarlet Raptors earned ECAC Tournament wins over SUNY-Maritime, Arcadia, and New York University en route to an 11-9-4 overall record in 2017. Now in his 13th-year at the helm of the program, Tim Oswald has guided Rutgers-Camden to an overall mark of 172-73-33. The Scarlet Raptors return one all-conference player from their 2017 ECAC Tournament runner-up squad in senior goalkeeper James Brett. The College of New Jersey, led by 24th-year head coach George Nazario, was selected to place eighth. Under Nazario, TCNJ has posted a record of 224-166-48, including an overall mark of 6-9-3 in 2017. The Lions return a pair of all-conference performers from the 2017 season in senior midfielder Nick Sample and senior back Joerg Jauk. Ramapo College, which finished 8-10-1 overall in 2017, was selected to place ninth. Head coach DJ Pinton has guided the Roadrunners to an overall mark of 132-99-28 during his 14 seasons in Mahwah. Ramapo returns a trio of all-conference players from its 2017 squad, including senior back Malik Lopes, senior midfielder Trevor Albrecht, and junior back Justin Charkowski. New Jersey City University, under the leadership of third-year head coach Joe Cullen, was selected to finish 10th. Cullen has led the Gothic Knights to a 12-22-3 overall mark during his first two seasons, including a record of 4-12-2 in 2017. The 60th season of NJAC men's soccer will kickoff on Friday, August 31 with all 10 league teams in non-conference action. Conference play will begin just 16 days later on Saturday, September 15 with the first five league matches of the season. The top six regular season finishers will advance to the NJAC Championship Tournament which will begin with first round action on Saturday, October 27. The NJAC Tournament semifinals will be conducted on Tuesday, October 30, and the 2018 NJAC Championship Match will be played at the site of the highest remaining seed on Friday, November 2. The winner of the NJAC Tournament receives the conference's automatic qualification to the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament. 2018 NJAC Coaches Preseason Men's Soccer Poll (first place votes in parenthesis) 1. Rowan University (9) 2. Montclair State University 3. Rutgers-Newark (1) 4. Stockton University 5. Kean University (dark horse) 6. William Paterson University 7. Rutgers-Camden 8. The College of New Jersey 9. Ramapo College 10. New Jersey City University

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