PAWTUCKET, R.I. –The Castleton University men's soccer team was picked fifth in the Little East Conference (LEC) Preseason Coaches Poll as announced by the conference office Friday morning.
Castleton received 32 votes to check in fifth on the list. Eastern Connecticut is the preseason favorite having received 59 points and four first-place votes. Western Connecticut, the two-time defending conference champion, is ranked second with 52 points and a pair of first-place votes. Despite having three first-place votes, UMass Boston received 49 total points to rank third. Keene State, last year's runner up, was selected fourth with 44 points.
Rhode Island College (31 points), Plymouth State (23 points), UMass Dartmouth (18 points), and Southern Maine (16 points) round out the poll.
The Spartans earned the fifth seed in the 2019 LEC Tournament following a 9-8-1 (3-4-1 LEC) regular season. The season ended with a 1-0 overtime loss at Western Connecticut in the quarterfinal round. Jack Kingdon returns for his senior season after scoring 10 goals and adding five assists in 2018. Meanwhile, Colby Gay, Rida Kori, Jacob Godfrey - the 2018 Team MVP -, Noah Swainbank, and Diatourou Drame each contributed on both ends of the field and will log heavy minutes in 2019.
Tom Kirk, a 2019 graduate of Castleton University, joins the coaching staff as a graduate assistant for the 2019 season. Kirk anchored the Spartan defense over his four-year career at Castleton while also contributing 24 points over 80 games played. Emmit Ackerman also joins the coaching staff at his alma matter for his first season with the Spartans as the goalkeeper coach.
Castleton opens its 2019 schedule on Friday, August 30 on the road at Clark University. After a three-game road swing to commence the season, the Spartans will play host to SUNY Canton on September 11 for their home opener.