Panthers to open at Johnson & Wales on Aug. 31
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University men's soccer team has been chosen to finish seventh in the Little East Conference (LEC) in 2018, after a vote of the league's nine head coaches.
Defending LEC Tournament Champion Western Connecticut State University was selected as the preseason favorite, accruing six first place votes and 60 points. The University of Massachusetts Boston, winners of the tournament the three previous years, was tabbed second after collecting two first place votes for 55 points. Rhode Island College earned 52 points to finish third.
Eastern Connecticut State University grabbed the final first place vote (41 points) to finish fourth with Keene State College (33 points) picked fifth. The league's newest member, Castleton University, took the sixth spot with 25 points, just ahead of Plymouth State's 24 points.
The University of Southern Maine and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth rounded out the poll in a tie for eighth with 17 points apiece.
Head Coach Rob Wright, about to begin his 17th season at the helm, returns 18 players from last year's squad, including seniors Dan Shaw (Winchester, England) and Truls Julseth (Fredrikstad, Norway). Shaw, a three-year captain, was named to the All-LEC Second Team last season after finishing with a goal and two assists while helping to lead a defense that posted three shutouts. Julseth appeared in 12 games and notched a pair of goals.
Wright will also look to junior captain Joni Hongisto (Kaarina, Finland) to provide leadership. The midfielder started 15 of the Panthers' 16 games last fall.
A quartet of sophomores all picked up valuable experience in their rookie seasons and Wright expects them to have an even bigger impact in 2018. All-LEC Second Teamer Filip Johansson (Lulea, Sweden) scored a pair of goals while anchoring the defense, while Linus Lindeberg (Stockholm, Sweden) registered 71 saves and five wins in 12 games as the team's primary goalkeeper. Erik Armskog (Gothenburg, Sweden) and Cam Macedo (Oakland, R.I.) will also play significant roles in 2018.
The Panthers open the season with road games at New England power Johnson & Wales (Aug. 31, 1:00 p.m.) and New England College (Sept. 3, 7:00 p.m.), before a slate of four straight home games starting Sept. 5.
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