COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's soccer team was picked 14th 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 21 points toward a 14-team poll topped by Merrimack College, which notched 158 points and is ranked 22nd in the United Soccer Coaches preseason national poll.
Nearly a dozen newcomers buoy a squad that went 5-10-1 overall and 3-10 in NE10 play last fall, with 11 contests decided by one goal or less. The Purple Knights blanked eventual NE10 Championship runner-up Bentley University, 5-0, before capping the season with a 2-1, double-overtime victory over regionally-ranked Southern New Hampshire University, which was receiving national votes. Southern New Hampshire is fourth and Bentley stands ninth in the preseason poll. Third-place Southern Connecticut State University was receiving national votes when it narrowly downed Saint Michael's, 2-1.
The Purple and Gold's leading returning scorer is junior Jacob von Giebel (Lambertville, N.J./South Hunterdon Regional), who netted three goals with an assist while making half of his appearances in the starting lineup. Classmates Jake Bannon (Clifton, Va./Paul VI Catholic) and Justin D'Orlando (Middleton, Mass./Bridgton Academy) both turned in five points and are among a veteran core that includes senior Bradley Anair (Bennington, Vt./Mount Anthony Union) and redshirt junior Brady Channell (Plattsburgh, N.Y./Plattsburgh), the only two returners who started all 16 games last season. Channell has been a two-year starter on defense, while Anair started the last 32 games in the midfield. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Leland Gazo (Colchester, Vt./Rice Memorial/Bradley) started 11 of his 12 appearances, while redshirt junior Gabriel Pineda (Miami, Fla./La Salle-Immaculata) went 2-2-1 in reserve action.
Under ninth-year head coach Wade Jean, Saint Michael's begins the season at Queens (N.Y.) College on Aug. 30. The Purple Knights are home for the first time by taking on Saint Anselm College for the Community Cup on Sept. 5 before they head into NE10 play at Merrimack on Sept. 11.