HAMDEN, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University men's soccer team was picked to finish third in the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll. In 2008, the Bobcats finished third in conference play with a 5-2-2 mark and 10-5-4 overall, qualifying for the NEC Tournament for the first time since the 2004 season.
The four-time defending regular season champion Monmouth Hawks were picked first in the preseason poll with five first-place votes. Last season's tournament champion Fairleigh Dickinson finished second in the voting with three first-place votes and one spot ahead of the Bobcats, who received one first-place nod. St. Francis (N.Y.) placed fourth in the poll, despite two first-place votes. Mount St. Mary's, Central Connecticut and Sacred Heart finished fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, while Long Island and Saint Francis (PA) tied for eighth. Robert Morris and, first-year member, Bryant round out the poll in tenth and eleventh places, respectively.
Quinnipiac returns 22 players from last season's team, including Shane Recklet (Shelton, Conn.) and Durval Pereira (Cheshire, Conn.). Recklet returns for his senior season one year after the defender and team captain was named to the All-NEC Second Team. He scored five goals, including three game winners, and finished with 11 points, good for third on the team. Pereira is the Bobcats' top statistical returner as he finished his rookie campaign second on the team with six goals and 15 points.
Two-time All-NEC Second Team goalkeeper Freddy Hall (St. George, Bermuda) returns for his senior season after playing every minute in goal last season for the Bobcats. His 83 saves ranked second in the conference, while posting the fourth-best goals-against average with a 1.05 mark. Hall posted seventh shutouts en route to finishing the 2008 season with 10 wins.
"It's always flattering to know how you're viewed by your peers," said Head Coach Eric Da Costa. "Our goal as a program is always to be mentioned amongst the best. What's important to us, however, is not where people perceive us to be now, but, rather, where we stand at the end. We have a fantastic group of players in place who are all focused on the challenges and journey that are ahead. I look forward to watching us continue to grow as a team and program."
The Bobcats open the season on Sept. 5 at 7 p.m., as they take on Yale in New Haven, Conn.