COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's soccer team was picked 12th in the Northeast-10 Conference's preseason poll, which was released by the league office today and chosen by the member institutions' head coaches. The Purple Knights received 43 points toward a 14-team poll topped by Adelphi University, which is ranked fifth in the United Soccer Coaches (USC) preseason national poll. The Panthers, who garnered 168 points, won the 2016 NE10 Championship before advancing to the NCAA Tournament national quarterfinals.
Saint Michael's returns 17 players from a 5-10-1 squad that suffered each loss by two goals or less, including four by a single tally. At 3-9-1 in the NE10, one of the Purple Knights' league wins came against the University of New Haven, which was slotted ninth in the poll. The Purple and Gold registered non-conference victories over Assumption College and Stonehill College, which were seventh and 10th, respectively. Twelve Purple Knight first-years dominated a young roster a year ago, while eight newcomers join the program for 2017.
Six of the Purple and Gold's top seven goal scorers return from last fall, with junior Cole McIntire (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) having notched four goals and an assist to pace the veterans. Senior Adrián Díaz (Santiago de Compostela, Spain/Vermont Academy) and sophomore Andres Rivas (Caracas, Venezuela/Palmer Trinity School) both tallied two goals and three helpers, with Rivas doing so in eight contests and landing on the NE10 All-Rookie Team.
Two goalkeepers return to the team, as senior Daniel du Feu (Miami, Fla./Palmer Trinity School) and sophomore Gabriel Pineda (Miami, Fla./Immaculata-La Salle) nearly split time last year. In his first season of college action after redshirting in 2015, Pineda posted a 1.96 goals-against average and a 2-3 mark while seeing time in seven games, including five starts. Du Feu recorded two shutouts and a 2.13 GAA in 10 games, among them eight starting assignments.
Under eighth-year head coach Wade Jean, Saint Michael's begins the season on Sept. 1 when it hosts Queens (N.Y.) College at 3 p.m. The Purple Knights start their NE10 slate by hosting Merrimack College on Sept. 12 at 3:30 p.m.