BOSTON — The UMBC men's soccer team have been tabbed as America East co-favorites, along with the University of Hartford, in the 2015 preseason coaches' poll, the conference office announced Tuesday afternoon. The voting was conducted by the conference's eight head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams.
UMBC has won back-to-back America East regular season and tournament championships. The Retrievers have captured three consecutive and four of the league's last five tourney titles, earning NCAA berths in those years.
Last year, UMBC became the conference's first team to reach the NCAA College Cup and finished the season ranked fourth in the country. Pete Caringi's young 2015 squad was ranked No. 12 in the nation in the preseason NCSAA poll.
The Retrievers and Hawks, the two sides that have played for the last two America East men's soccer titles, each received four first-place votes and 46 total points to share the top spot atop the poll. Vermont was chosen third with 34 points, followed by UMass Lowell in fourth with 27 points. Albany (23 points) was next in fifth with New Hampshire (18) in sixth, Binghamton (16) in seventh and Stony Brook (14) rounding out the poll.
The 2015 men's soccer season begins on Friday, Aug. 28 with all eight America East teams in action. Conference play begins on Saturday, Oct. 3 while the six-team America East Championship begins with quarterfinal action on Nov. 7 and continues with the semifinal round on Nov. 11. The conference champion will be crowned on either Nov. 14 or 15 with the winner of the tournament receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship, where America East teams have advanced to the second round in 11 of the last 14 seasons.
Here is the full poll:
2015 Preseason Poll (1st-place votes)
T1. Hartford (4), 46 pts.
T1. UMBC (4), 46
3. Vermont, 34
4. UMass Lowell, 27
5. Albany, 23
6. New Hampshire, 18
7. Binghamton, 16
8. Stony Brook, 14