Endicott Looks to Defend CCC Men’s Soccer Crown as Preseason Favorite

Endicott Looks to Defend CCC Men’s Soccer Crown as Preseason Favorite

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Endicott men's soccer team will enter the 2018 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) season as the preseason favorite after claiming its first-ever CCC Men's Soccer Tournament Championship a year ago.

The Gulls earned 78 points and seven of a possible nine first place votes in this year's preseason coaches' poll, which was completed last week by the league's nine men's soccer head coaches.

Endicott put together a 6-1-2 CCC (13-5-3 overall) season last year and earned the top seed in the conference tournament for the third consecutive year. The Gulls made that final leap to the league title in 2017 with a 1-0 overtime victory over No. 2 seed Gordon in the championship match. The victory also earned Endicott its first trip the NCAA Tournament where it fell to Springfield 1-0 in the First Round.

The Fighting Scots were picked second in the year's poll after compiling a 6-2-1 CCC (13-6-1 overall) record and finishing as the CCC Tournament runner-up last season. They earned 72 points in the poll including a first place vote.

Last year's CCC Tournament Semifinalists, Wentworth (5-2-2 CCC, 10-8-2 overall) and Western New England (6-2-1 CCC, 12-7-1 overall), finished third and fourth in the poll, respectively. The Leopards earned 57 points, while the Golden Bears claimed 49. Salve Regina's (5-3-1 CCC, 11-5-3 overall) 42 points landed in the Seahawks in the fifth slot.

Roger Williams (41 points), Nichols (28), the University of New England (21), and Curry (17) closed out the poll in that order.

The men's soccer schedule gets kicks on Friday, Aug. 31 with eight CCC teams starting non-conference play. League play gets underway on Saturday, Sept. 15. This year's conference tournament features a slightly modified format with the top seven teams qualifying. The tournament will begin on Saturday, Oct. 27 with three quarterfinal matches as the top seed will receive a bye. Quarterfinal winners will advance to the semifinals on Wednesday, Oct. 31 followed by the Championship match on Saturday, Nov. 3. The CCC Tournament Champion will earn the conference's automatic qualifier in to the 2018 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship.

Click HERE to view the whole 2018 CCC men's soccer schedule.

 

2018 CCC Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll

  Team Points (First Place Votes)
1. Endicott 78 (7)
2. Gordon 72 (1)
3. Wentworth 57
4. Western New England 49
5. Salve Regina 42
6. Roger Williams 41
7. Nichols 28
8. University of New England 21 (1)
9. Curry 17

 

2018 CCC Men's Soccer Previews

Contributed by each school's sports information department.

1. Endicott

The Endicott men's soccer team looks to continue their success on the pitch after a historic 2017 season. The Gulls captured their first CCC Championship in program history and also made their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. The team recorded an overall record of 13-5-3 and a 6-1-2 mark in conference play.

Endicott is led by head coach Joe Calabrese who was named CCC Coach of the Year for the third season in a row in 2017. Also returning for the Gulls is reigning CCC Defensive Player of the Year Conner Couchot (Mason, Ohio). On the offensive end, All-CCC First team honoree Evan Couchot (Mason, Ohio) will look to improve upon his team-leading 11 goals and 26 point performance from last season. Endicott starts the season on Friday, Aug. 31 when it welcomes No. 4 Brandeis to Hempstead Stadium.

  Conner Couchot, EC

2. Gordon

Gordon returns three of its top four goal scorers from last season in seniors Ian Burkhart (Lancaster, Pa.), Josh Beveridge (Anchorage, Alaska), and Tyler Modzeleski (Cazenovia, N.Y.) who led the team to a 13-6-1 (6-2-1 CCC) record and an appearance in the CCC Tournament Championship game. Burkhart scored four goals and dished out two assists and was named All-CCC Second Team. Beveridge scored four goals and had one assist while being named All-CCC Third Team. Senior defenders Collin Surface (Tallmadge, Ohio) and Stephen Heintz (Boxford, Mass.) ranked third and fourth on the team in minutes played last year and will shore up the backline again this season after being named All-CCC First Team and All-CCC Second Team last season. CCC Rookie of the Year and All-CCC First Team goalkeeper Wesley Sprague (Naperville, Ill.) returns in the net after leading the CCC in saves with 80, wins with 12, shutouts with 10, save percentage at .879, and in goals against average at 0.54.

The Fighting Scots open the season with home games against No. 25 Saint Joseph's College of Maine and No. 4 Brandeis. Both teams enter the season ranked in the NCAA Top 25 after qualifying for the NCAA Tournament last season. They will also play NCAA Tournament qualifiers Amherst and Springfield in non-conference play. Gordon will travel to take on the University of New England Sept. 15 in their CCC opener and will host Wentworth Sept. 29 for its Homecoming game. 

  Collin Surface, GC

3. Wentworth

The Wentworth Institute of Technology men's soccer team is coming off its third straight season of reaching at least the semifinal round of the CCC Tournament. With 18 returning letter-winners, the Leopards should be in the mix for another deep run in the conference tournament. Wentworth returns two of its top four scorers from a season ago, including junior Griffin Price (Allendale, N.J.) who had a team-high 28 points on 13 goals and two assists. Price earned a spot on the CCC First Team All-Conference as a sophomore. Sophomore Noah Martins (Dartmouth, Mass.) returns to the Leopards after posting 19 points (seven goals, five assists) and earning his second straight All-CCC nod. Sophomore Ryan Firmin (Gorham, Maine) was a solid, two-way midfielder during his rookie campaign while classmate Noah Niles (Saco, Maine) also returns to help anchor the back line. In net, junior Philip Chomicki (Dorchester, Mass.) is coming off a sophomore season which saw him post a 7-2-2 record with a 0.96 goals against average and three shutouts.

   Noah Martins, WIT


4. Western New England

Entering his fourth season at Western New England, head coach Devin O'Neill will look to lead the Golden Bears back to the top of the CCC in 2018.

The Golden Bears went 12-7-1 (6-2-1 CCC) last fall and reached the CCC Semifinals with the help of Troy Remillard's 22-goal, All-America campaign. Junior Corey Brown (Somers, Conn.) and senior Nick Liccardi (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) are Western New England's top two returning scorers after combining for 27 points in 2017, while senior goalkeeper Sam Brewer (Westford, Mass.) is also back following a strong first season in net.

The Golden Bears travel to Bridgewater State for their 2018 opener on Friday, Aug. 31, before returning to Suprenant Field eight days later to take on Husson in their home opener on Sept. 8. CCC play begins on Sept. 15, when Western New England hosts Endicott College.

  Nick LiccardiWNE

5. Salve Regina

Head coach Craig O'Rourke II enters his 12th season at Salve Regina and is very much looking forward to the upcoming season following how close the top of the conference was last fall. "Only one result separated the top six teams in our conference and we were right in the middle of it. The Commonwealth Coast has grown in both popularity and stature and we are now regarded as one of the premier conferences in the sport of men's soccer nationally," said O'Rourke.  This fall the Seahawks will once again look to the combined efforts of Matthew O'Donnell (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Donald Igo (Needham, Mass.), and Jordan Elster (Sutton, Mass.) to lead the squad.  All three were All-Conference selections last year and Elster was both an All-Region and a Scholar All-American honoree.  Each will be looking to build upon their past accomplishments and help push the program further and deeper into the postseason.

  Matthew O'Donnell, SRU

6. Roger Williams

The Roger Williams University men's soccer team improved from the 2016 season, going 9-6-4 in 2017. The team finished sixth in the conference, advancing to the CCC Quarterfinals and placing three student-athletes on the All-CCC Team. This year, James Greenslit enters his fourth year as head coach and looks to guide the Hawks to a strong finish in the CCC Tournament. In addition, two of the five leading scorers from 2017 are returning including junior Colby Decker (Colchester, Conn.) will seek to top his performance last year after finishing the year with nine points on three goals and three assists.

 
Colby Decker, RWU

7. Nichols

The Nichols College men's soccer team looks to qualify for the CCC playoffs for the 11th consecutive season in 2018. Senior Gregory Giglio (Deer Park, N.Y.) is the top returning scorer for head coach Chris Traina as he collected nine points (3-3-9) during the 2017 campaign. Chris Noga (Belchertown, Mass.) returns for his junior campaign looking to build on last season's nine-point effort (2-5-9) while senior Patrick Porpora (Westminster, Mass.) and junior Juan Carlos De La Cruz (Stamford, Conn.) hold down the fort in net.

 
Gregory Giglio, NC

8. University of New England

The University of New England and sixth-year head coach Peter Ostergaard return eight starters from the 2017 group, which was the only team to defeat top-seeded Endicott during the regular-season before falling to the Gulls in double overtime during the conference quarterfinals. It was UNE's first postseason appearance in three years.

 
Lee Esposito, UNE

9. Curry

Curry 12th-year head coach Peter Mendel has a young and energetic Colonels squad with only two seniors looking to breakthrough to the top half of the CCC with a lot to prove and many new faces through transfer and incoming freshman. The squad will lean on a trio of juniors: Paul DeMaio (North Andover, Mass.), Mitchell Forbes (Boxford, Mass.), and Brandon Rinaldi (Watertown, Conn.) who each provided stability at their positions. DeMaio made 14 starts in goal for the Colonels and recorded a 1.28 goals against average while Forbes and Rinaldi each saw action in 18 games last fall. The program will also welcome multiple newcomers and transfers, headlined by junior Adam Beatty (Middletown, Conn.), sophomore Brandon Dickens (East Hartford, Conn.), and Brandon Duhaime (Milford, Conn.). Another key returner also includes senior Kyle Henry (Danville, Calif.). The Colonels, with only two seniors, look to break through to the top half of the CCC this season.

 

 
Brandon Rinaldi, CC

 

ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE

The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of nine full member and one associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference administers championships in 18 intercollegiate sports.

 

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