NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The Little East Conference men's soccer pre-season coaches' poll has been announced and Plymouth State University has been picked to finish fourth in this year's race. The votes were cast by the conference's head coaches, and the poll was released by LEC Commissioner Jonathan Harper.
The Panthers, led by eighth-year head coach Rob Wright, received one first-place vote and 32 points to finish fourth in this year's poll. Eastern Connecticut State University, which captured the LEC regular season and tournament titles in 2007 and finished third in the regular season last fall, was picked to win this year's championship, receiving three first-place votes. Defending LEC Tournament champion Rhode Island College picked up two top votes and finished runner-up in the poll, and the University of Southern Maine, the defending LEC regular season champion, got one first-place vote and finished third, just ahead of PSU. Rounding out the poll was Keene State College in fifth, Western Connecticut State University in sixth, UMass Dartmouth in seventh, and UMass Boston in eighth.
PSU was just one match away from earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament last season, falling at RIC in the Little East Championship match. The fourth-seeded Panthers posted a pair of shutout victories, including a 3-0 upset over top-seeded USM, to reach the conference championship match, where they lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to the Anchormen, with the winning goal coming in the 86th minute.
Plymouth State will open the 2009 campaign against Ithaca College at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 5 at the Roger Williams Turfer Classic in Bristol, R.I.
The LEC men's soccer regular season schedule, now in its 21st year, includes one match against the other seven schools in the conference. The conference tournament, which includes the top four teams this year, is the first week in November, with the LEC champion receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The complete Little East Conference men's soccer preseason poll is listed below:
2009 LEC Men's Soccer Pre-Season Coaches Poll
1. Eastern Connecticut (3) 57
2. Rhode Island College (2) 55
3. Southern Maine (1) 40
4. Plymouth State (1) 38
5. Keene State 37
6. Western Connecticut 26
7. UMass Dartmouth 23
8. UMass Boston 12
(first-place votes in parentheses)
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