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College Soccer News 2021 Preseason Top 30 Men’s College Soccer National Poll.

the college soccer news preseaon poll is based on a combination of factors including returning talent, experience, and the projected impact of newcomers. performance during the 2020-2021 season is also a factor.

the preseason poll serves as a starting point. college soccer news will issue a weekly poll thRoughout the season and a final season ending poll at the conclusion of the ncaa tournament.

#1 Marshall

Being in the discussion for a national championship heading into the 2021 season is just one more reminder of how far this team has advanced in four seasons under Chris Grassie. This time last year the consensus was that the Thundering Herd had the ingredients to make it to the Sweet Sixteen again in 2020. Man was that off the mark. Ten starters are slated to return from the 2020 team that won the program’s first ever National Championship. This is a program that is quickly running out of firsts to achieve. All-American junior midfielder Vitor Diaz (6g, 7a) and redshirt junior forward Milo Yosef (4g, 4a) will power an opportunistic Herd offense. Senior Pedro Dolabella (1g, 3a) and junior Max Schneider are among a solid contingent of midfielders. Senior Oliver Semmle returns to anchor a Marshall defense that allowed a total of only eight goals last year. Marshall’s tenacity on the defensive side of the ball and possession oriented attack makes them a team that no one wants to have to chase from a goal down.

Welcome to Indiana, where a berth in the NCAA Tournament is considered a starting point and the annual expectation is to win the Big Ten title and contend for a national championship. Junior All-American forward Victor Bezerra (12, 4a) is among the superstars on a loaded team that returns players who scored 29 of the 31 goals the Hoosiers put in the back of the net last year. Junior Herbert Endeley (4g, 2a) and redshirt senior Joe Schmidt (1g, 4a) are among a deep group of midfielders. Junior All-American goalkeeper Roman Celentano and All-American redshirt senior Spencer Glass return to anchor an Indiana defense that will again be among the best in the nation.

Pitt would not have been a top twenty team just a few years ago much less a legitimate contender for the national championship. The best may be yet to come for Pitt with ten starters back from the 2020 team that won 16 games and advanced to the College Cup. Did you see the Panther attack when it was clicking last year? It was explosive. Pittsburgh will again be a very tough team to contain with the likes of dynamic junior midfielders Valentin Noel (14g, 2a) and Veljko Petkovic (9g, 8a), and forwards Alexander Dexter (9g, 5a) and sophomore Bertin Jacquesson (4g, 7a) slated to return to power what should be a multi-dimensional offense. The Panther midfield anchored by senior Jackson Walti (1g, 2a) will be deep and experienced. Netminder Nico Campuzano, an All-ACC First Team selection, and backs Jasper Loeffelsend who was a 2020 All-American, Arturo Ordonez and Raphael Crivello return on the defensive side of the ball.
North Carolina

Nine starters return from the 2020 team that was 9-5-4 and advanced to the College Cup. The Tar Heel defense anchored very capably in goal by Graduate Student Alec Smir along with Graduate Students Joe Pickering and Filippo Zattarin and sophomores Riley Thomas and Aldair Sanchez should again be a team strength. Defense will again keep the Tar Heels in every game but will that be enough? The “Achilles” heel of this team could be their productivity on the offensive side of the ball. Solve that and the sky is the limit for this group. The combination of a strong backline and goalkeeper should allow the offense time to develop. Fifth year seniors Santiago Herrera (4g, 0a) and Alex Rose (1g, 0a) and senior midfielder Milo Garvanian (0g, 4a) are among the returning players that Tar Heel mentor Carolos Somonao, who ranks second in the nation in winning percentage of active Division I coaches, will likely look to for offensive firepower.

Clemson will once again be among the nation’s elite with every starter from the 2021 spring season back. Redshirt junior forward James Brighton (6g, 1a) and senior midfielder Callum Johnson (5g, 4a) along with junior forwards Isaiah Reid (2g, 1a) and Mohamed Seye (4g, 2a) will add punch to the Tigers attack. Luis Felipe Fernandez-Salvador (2g, 4a) will help set the pace in the midfield. The defense should be very good with senior George Marks returning in goal along with experienced backs junior Oskar Agren, seniors Justin Malou and Charlie Arsensio and now battle tested sophomore Hamady Diop (2g, 0a). Clemson looks to be a talented, experienced, and hungry team in 2021. A combination that should make the Tigers a very dangerous team to face.
Wake Forest

Several key Demon Deacon players departed at the conclusion of the fall 2020 season. That created some big shoes to fill along with a learning curve entering the 2021 spring season. It also provided the opportunity for a lot of younger players to gain valuable minutes and experience. A full season of health without the injuries that have plagued Wake Forest the past two seasons and a bump in the level and consistency of play due to the experience gained last year look to be critical success factors in 2021. Everyone returns from the team that advanced to the Elite Eight last year. Senior forward Kyle Holcomb (9g, 2a) and junior midfielder Omar Hernandez (6g, 2a) provide big play ability. Redshirt junior Jake Swallen (1g, 4a) and junior Takuma Suzuki (0g, 2a) are part of a deep midfield. Cole McNally who was the starting netminder in the spring returns along with an impressive backline that includes senior Holland Rula (0g, 3a) and junior Nico Benalcazar (1g, 0a).
The Hoyas have some unanswered questions due to the void that exists due to the departure of back Rio Hope-Gund, midfielders Jacob Montes and Paul Rothrock and forward Derek Dodson but overall they are looking pretty sweet heading into the 2021 season. All-American junior midfielder Dante Polvara (8g, 2a), Georgetown’s leading goal scorer last year, will be a key ingredient again in 2021. Seniors Zach Riviere (3g, 1a), Sean Zawadski, and Chris Le (1g, 0a), junior Aidan Rocha and sophomores Chris Hegardt (3g, 2a) and Kyle Linahres (0g, 1a) are among a very deep group of midfielders. A lot may ride on the ability of returning forwards Will Sands (0g, 1a) and sophomore Marlon Tabora Ponce (0g, 1a) or one of the newcomers to add to the offense. All-American senior Giannis Nikopolidis returns in goal along with Graduate Student Ethan Koehler. The healthy return of sophomore back Daniel Wu who missed the 2020 season due to injury is a big plus for the defense.

The Cardinal are coming off a season during which they earned the Pac-12 title for the sixth time in the past seven years, were 10-3-1, and were awarded the number four seed in the NCAA Tournament. The 2020 season was another banner season for the Cardinal with the exception of the fact that their season came to a much earlier than expected end in the third round on the NCAA Tournament. The memory of that should make the Cardinal a hungry team heading into the 2021 season. The return of All-American redshirt senior forward Zach Ryan (10g, 3a), junior Gabe Segal (6g, 2a) and junior Ousseni Bouda who missed the 2020 season due to injury bodes well for a productive Cardinal attack in 2021. Seniors Will Richmond (5g, 6a) and Ryan Ludwick (1g, 1a), junior Cam Cilley (0g, 1a) and sophomore Mark Fisher (0g, 3a) are among an impressive group of midfielders. The departure of goalkeeper Andrew Thomas, a four-year starter, means that a new face will be in goal. Sophomores Keegan Tingey (2g, 4a) and Keegan Hughes (0g, 1a) and redshirt senior Andrew Aprahamian (0g, 1a) return in the back.

Washington is primed for another successful season on the national scene and battle with Stanford for the Pac-12 title. Almost everyone is back from a memorable 2020 season during which the Huskies were 12-4-0 and advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament with a balanced attack that produced a total of 35 goals and solid team defense that held opponents to a total of 13 goals. All-American junior Dylan Teves (7g, 5a), juniors Lucas Meek (6g, 1a), Christian Soto (4g, 3a), Nick Scardina (6g, 0a) and Gio Mgilietti (3g, 1a), redshirt junior Ryan Crowley (0g, 1a) and sophomore Imanol Rosales (1g, 5a) are part of a deep and versatile Washington midfield that can more than hold their own with any team in the country. Junior goalkeeper Sam Fowler, a two-year starter, and backs All-American junior Charlie Osterm (1g, 11a), junior Kendall Burks (3g, 1a) and redshirt junior Ryan Sailor (4g, 0a) return to anchor the defense. The Huskies have never advanced beyond the Elite Eight. This team has the potential to break through that barrier.
Seton Hall

The Pirates in year three under the direction of head coach Andreas Lindberg had a breakthrough 2020 season during which they won the Big East title for the first time since 1991 and returned to the NCAA Tourney field for the first time since 2005. With the entire starting 2020 team slated to return this program is only going to get better. Seton Hall has the ingredients on board and the momentum to contend for another Big East title and a high national ranking in 2021. Senior All-American and All-Big East First Team forward C.J. Tibbling (7g, 3a) returns to power the offense along with senior forward JP Martin (3g, 5a) who was a 2020 All-Big East Third team selection. Graduate Student Camil Koreichi (1g, 1a), senior Raavo Riihjarvi (2g, 0a), junior James Boote (0g, 9a), and sophomore Mattias Sundell (1g, 4a) are among a skilled and hard working group of returning midfielders. Graduate Student Andreas Nota, a 2020 All-Big East Second Team selection with a 0.85 goals against average, returns in goal to anchor the defense along with All-American senior back Luca Dahn (2g, 1a) and senior back Maurice Williams (4g, 1a). Junior Denis Kelmendi (0g, 1a) and Johannes Pex (2g, 1a) capably round out an experienced Seton Hall backline.
Missouri State

Jon Leamy enters his 30th and last season as the Missouri State head coach with a team that from top to bottom may be the strongest he has ever had. The Bears return every starter from the 2020 team that was 12-2-0, won the MVC regular season and tournament titles, and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Forwards Nicolo Mulatero (7g, 8a), Jesus Barea (4g, 5a) and Aadne Bruseth (4g, 5a) return to power the attack up-top. Josh Dolling (1g, 1a), a four-year starter adds another dimension to the attack in the midfield. Goalkeeper Michael Creek, a three-year starter, and back Kyle Hiebert, a four-year starter, return to anchor the defense. Missouri State is always a gritty team on defense. The ability of this group to settle into a balance that will enable them to put pressure on their opponents on the offensive side of the ball while remaining stout on the defensive side of the ball is among the keys to the success of this talented and experienced group.
Penn State

Penn State will seek to continue its upward trajectory in year four of the Jeff Cook era. The Nittany Lions are coming off a 2020 season during which they were 9-2-2 overall and 6-1-1 in Big Ten play which was good for a second place finish behind Indiana. With just about everyone back the Nittany Lions look to be very competitive on both sides of the ball in 2021. Forwards senior Daniel Bloyou (8g, 2a) and junior Liam Butts (2g, 1a) look to be a very dangerous duo up-top. Both are opportunistic goals scorers who attack with confidence. Sophomore Peter Mangione (6g, 6a), redshirt senior co-captain Pierre Reedy (5g, 4a), senior catalyst Seth Kuhn (2g, 4a), junior Andrew Privett (1g, 2a) and redshirt senior Keegan Ness return to form the nucleus of a very talented midfield. Junior Kris Shakes and redshirt sophomore Owen Elliott return in goal along with backs redshirt senior co-captain Brandon Hackenberg (0g, 1a), junior Alex Stevenson (1g, 3a), redshirt junior Adam Laundree, and sophomores Femi Awodesu and Tyger Evans (2g, 2a).

The Knights started slowly last year but rebounded with a nine match unbeaten steak that included the AAC regular season and tournament titles and a trip to the Sweet Sixteen. Forwards Junior Gino Vivi (5g, 4a) and sophomore Lucca Dourado (4g, 1a) and senior midfielder Mauricio Villalobos Vega (1g, 3a) among returning players who have the ability to wreck havoc on opposing defenders. The Knights will have to replace netminder Yannik Oettl, a three-time AAC Goalkeeper of the Year, but the backline will be solid with seniors Yanis Leerman and Andres Hernandez Betancur and sophomore Anderson Rosa all returning. Scott Calabrese has added a recruiting class that includes several experienced transfers who should contribute immediately.
Virginia Tech

A solid core returns from the 2020 team that earned the programs fifth consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. The Hokies face the challenge of replacing the playmaking ability that midfielders Daniel Pereira and Kristo Strickler brought to the pitch as well as a daunting early season slate that includes Marshall, UCF and Seton Hall. The good news is that forward Jacob Labovitz (9g, 3) and midfielder Nick Blacklock (4g, 0a) return to add firepower to the offense. Transfer forward Pol Monells could add another dimension to the attack. Junior Matt Zambetti returns in goal to anchor the defense along with senior defenders Kyle McDowell (0g, 5a), Sivert Haugli (1g, 0) and Christ Little (0g, 3a) and redshirt junior Nathan Durst (0g, 1a) among others.

There is reason for excitement at Marquette heading into the 2021 season. The Golden Eagles did a really good job under the guidance of veteran head coach Louis Bennett of finding a way to win the close contests last year that eluded them at times in the past. As a result they returned to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since 2013 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Forwards All-American Lukas Sunesson (6g, 2a), Beto Soto (3g, 1a) who was the 2020 Big East Freshman of the Year and a College Soccer News All-Freshman Team selection, and Christian Marquez (0g, 3a) are among the returning players with the ability to power the attack. Alex Mirsberger (1g, 2a), a 2020 All-Big East Second Team member and Zyan Andrade (2g, 2a), a Big East 2020 Third Team selection, return in the midfield along with Zack Wegner (0g, 1a) and Alan Salmeron (0g, 1a) who were also starters last year. Chandler Hallwood who had a 0.65 goals against average returns to anchor a defense that will require some reloading. This group has momentum but cautious optimism is warranted since Marquette’s margin for error will likely again be very small.
Loyola Marymount

The Lions are coming off a season in which they won the West Coast Conference title for the first time since 2013 and returned to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season. Paul Krumpe’s LMU squad returns ten starters and looks to be well positioned to build on the success they enjoyed last year. Junior All-American midfielder junior Noel Caliskan (3g, 3a) returns to set the pace on the offensive side of the ball along with forwards graduate student Duhaney Williams (1g, 4a) and senior Ronaldo Brown (2g, 2a). LMU will have a gap to fill due to the departure of defender Gerardo Lopez, the 2020 WCC Defender of the Year and a multi-year starter. Jones will be missed but the Lions still return a ton of experienced talent on the defensive side of the ball. Junior Jacob Jackson, the 2020 WCC Goalkeeper of the Year with a 0.21 goals against average, will anchor the defense. Graduate student Nick Dauchot, a 2020 WCC First Team selection, graduate student Christian Wood, and senior Dylan Shockey are among returning defenders. The Lions face a very challenging slate of non-conference opponents but their conference schedule is favorable since they play WCC foes Saint Mary’s and Portland at home in 2021.

There is a lot to like about the Wildcats on both sides of the ball. Forwards junior Eythor Bjorgolfsson (4g, 4a) and seniors Daniel Evans (4g, 3a) and Brock Lindow (5g, 0a) return to power the offense. Seniors Marcel Meinzer (3g, 2a), the 2020 CUSA Co-Midfielder of the Year, Clay Olstad (1g, 1a) and Bailey Rouse (3g, 2a) and sophomore Enzo Mauriz return to give Kentucky a talented and experienced group of linkmen. Redshirt junior Ryan Troutman who started nine contests last year with a 0.69 goals-against-average returns in goal. The departure of Leon Jones, a 2020 All-CUSA First Team selection, creates a void to fill in the back but seniors Robert Screen (1g, 4a), a 2020 All-CUSA selection and Trey Asensio (0g, 3a), junior Luis Grassow (0g, 1a) and sophomore Jalen Bigby (1g, 0a) provide the ingredients for a very solid backline. Kentucky’s CUSA schedule is daunting since they have to play both Marshall and Charlotte on the road.

Charlotte has earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament in eight of the nine seasons that Kevin Langan has been at the helm of the program. The prognosis for continued success in 2021 is favorable with senior Preston Popp (6g, 0a), a CUSA Second Team selection, and Alex Willis (3g, 2a), a CUSA First Team selection, returning up-top. Both are very capable finishers. Redshirt senior Joe Brito, a 2020 All-CUSA first team member, returns to set the pace in the midfield. Patrick Hogan, a four-year starter and 2020 CSN All-America Team selection, will be missed in the back but with redshirt seniors Delasi Batse and Luke Johnson, senior Ethan Sawdon and junior Sean Suber slated to return the backline will be experienced and talented. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Daniel Kuzemka will likely be called upon to fill the void that exists due to the departure of netminder Austin Mullins who was an All-CUSA 2020 Third Team member.
James Madison

The Dukes have a chance to pick up a resume building win right out of the gate when they host defending national champion Marshall in their season opener. JMU returns nine starters from an abbreviated 2020 season during which they were 5-1-3 and secured their third consecutive CAA title under head coach Paul Zazenski. It should be noted that the two departures, All-American defender Tom Judge and All-American goalkeeper TJ Bush who were four-year starters, leave some pretty big shoes to fill. The possibility exists for a learning curve on the defensive side of the ball. On the plus side of the ledger redshirt senior Luca Erhardt (3g, 1a), a CAA Second Team selection, returns up-top. The midfield looks to be a team strength with Tyler Clegg and Axel Ahlander (1g, 0a) who were both 2020 All-CAA Second Team selections slated to return along with Alex Krakowiak (1g, 0a), Ethan Taylor (2g, 0a) and Clay Obara (1g, 1a). Prince Loney-Bailey and Melker Anshelm (1g, 1a), a 2020 All-CAA First Team selection and three-year starter, are among returning backs. Bush made a lot of big saves in goal during his four-year tenure at JMU. His departure creates a big unanswered question heading into the 2021 season.
Oregon State

The Beavers had a roller coaster 2020 season during which they were 9-5-0 with a 6-4-0 mark in Pac-12 play and earned their second berth in the NCAA Tournament during the three seasons that Terry Boss has the the head coach. Nine starters return for an Oregon State team that will be very tough opponent. The opportunity exists for this team to take another step upward in 2021 if they can consistently settle into a rhythm of play that will enable them to apply pressure while remaining organized on the defensive side of the ball. The Beavers will find out what life is like without the punch that Hermann Trophy winner Gloire Amanda (15g, 7a) provided up-top and the stability that Joe Hafferty, a four-year starter, provided in the back. Senior midfielder Sofiane Djeffal (6g, 2a), a three-time All-Pac 12 First Team selection, redshirt senior Tyrone Mondi, a 2020 All-Pac 12 Second Team selection, junior Mouhameth Thiam (3g, 6a) and redshirt senior forward Tsiki Ntsabeleng (1g, 4a) are all skilled playmakers. Carlos Moliner, a 2020 Pac-12 Second Team selection, and sophomore Javier Armas (2g, 3a) round out a talented Beaver midfield. Senior Adrian Crespo (0g, 5a) and junior Gael Gilbert (1g, 1a) return in the back. Senior Adrian Fernandez, a three-year starter, and sophomore Roman Gabriel who started the last three games of the 2020 return between the pipes to anchor the defense.
High Point

Zach Haines will enter his third season as the HPU head coach with everyone back from the 2020 team that won both the Big South Conference regular season and tournament titles and secured a berth in the NCAA Tournament. This is a balanced team that found the back of the net 38 times in 2020 while holding opponents to nine goals. Junior forward MD Myers (14g, 4a), the 2020 Big South Offensive Player of the Year, returns up-top along with seniors Sebastian Chalbaud (9g, 4a), an All-Big South First Team selection, and Alex Abril (6g, 6a), an All-Big South Second Team member. Mason Marcey (2g, 3a), an All-Big South Second Team selection, senior LaLas Ayertay (0g, 1a) and redshirt sophomore Davis Biggerstaff (0g, 3a) are among returning midfielders. Redshirt junior Holden Trent, an All-Big South First Team selection, returns in goal along with a deep group of defenders including sophomore center back Fin McRobb (1g, 1a), a Big South First Team member, senior Nick Phipps (0g, 5a), a three-year starter, senior Alessandro Sobacchi (1g, 2a), a Big South Second Team member, senior Josh Dubost (1g, 2a), a two-year starter, juniors Karson Kendall (0g, 1a) and Brady Francher (0g, 1a) and sophomore Cooper Lindfelt. HPU’s schedule includes potential resume building non-conference games with Virginia, Maryland and NC State but their return to the NCAA Tournament may come down to the outcome of their game with Big South foe Campbell on October 30.

The defending Atlantic Ten Champions will enter the 2021 season with nine returning starters along with a solid group of players who played a lot of minutes last year. Departures include graduated students goalkeeper Josh Levin and midfielder Lennart Kessner (0g, 1a) who transferred in last year for a one year tour of duty. Junior transfer Callum James, the 2020 NEC Goalkeeper of the Year, should contend for the starting goalkeeper role. The backline will be deep with the return of graduate students Luke McNamara (3g, 0a) and Matt Sloan (4g, 1a), redshirt senior Brandon Golden, senior Jack Sluys and sophomores Sebastian Fabrin and Max Rogers among others. Graduate Student Jacob Bohm (0g, 1a) will set the pace in the midfield. Redshirt senior Sameer Fathazada (3g, 2a) and sophomore midfielder Florian Deletioglu (3, 1a) look to be among the returning players who Carlo Acquista will look to for offensive productivity.
New Hampshire

The Wildcats have momentum. New Hampshire is coming off an 8-1-1 2020 season in which the secured the program’s third consecutive America East Tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive season. A veteran New Hampshire team last year scored a total of 22 goals while allowing only 8. The Wildcats should again be a tough team to top. New Hampshire has the potential to move upward in the rankings depending on whether or not the graduate students and seniors who played key roles on both sides of the ball in 2020 elect to return in 2021.
Grand Canyon

Leonard Griffin inherits the reigns of the program from retiring Hall of Fame head coach Schellas Hyndman with ten starters on board along with a strong supporting cast from the 2020 team that was 8-2-0 overall with a 7-0-0 mark in WCC play. The Lopes punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament in 2020 for the second time in the past three seasons. The lone departure is goalkeeper George Tasouris who was the 2020 WAC Defensive Player of the Year. All-American midfielder fifth-year senior Justin Rasmussen (5g, 2a) and sophomore forward Maximilian Moeller (6g, 1a), the 2020 WCC Freshman of the Year, return to power the offense. The midfield will be deep with junior Hugo Logan (2g, 2a), fifth-year senior Tosh Yasuda (1g, 4a), senior Alexis Canales (0g, 1a) and sophomore Georg Bjarnason (0g, 1a) among those returning. The backline will be a team strength with senior Esai Easley (0g, 1a) and fifth-year senior Ariel Aguas who were 2020 All-WCC First Team members returning along with senior Alejandro Fernandez Alcaide (0g, 2a) and junior Pedro Mondragon (1, 0a). Griffin advocates possession with a purpose which translates into an opportunistic attack oriented system of play. The inherent impact of the transition to a new coaching staff and replacing George Tasouris in goal appear look to be the two biggest unanswered questions heading into the 2021 season.

This could be an ambitious early season ranking for a Yale team that didn’t play in 2020 due to the fact that the Ivy League cancelled the season due to COVID-19 concerns. Yale will be without several key players from the highly successful 2019 team that was 13-3-2 overall and won the Ivy League title for the first time since 2005. However a solid nucleus does return supplemented by two recruiting classes with the potential to help fill the voids that exist. Junior Paolo Carroll (1g, 5a), a two-year starter, and sophomore Eric Lagos (1g,0a) look to be among the returning players who coach Kyle Stannard will look to for offense firepower. Senior Enzo Okpoye (5g, 0a), a two-year starter and 2019 All-Ivy First Team member, returns to set the pace in the midfield. Junior transfer Jules Orson from Williams College and Sandor Pelle who played with the Phoenix Rising FC are among several members of the recruiting class with the potential to help fill the void that exists due to the departure of Mark Winhoffer and Ryan Matteo. Juniors Siggy Arnason (3g, 6a) and Jeremy Haddock (2g, 1a) and sophomore Jake Schaffer (0g, 1a) who were starters in 2019 return to anchor what should again be a solid and well organized Bulldog backline. Junior Elian Haddock, a 2019 All-Ivy First Team selection, returns to give Yale a very composed and talented shot stopper in goal.
Saint Mary’s

A relatively young Saint Mary’s squad completed an abbreviated 2020 season with a 6-2-1 overall record and a 4-2-1 mark in WCC play. Adam Cooper will have ten returning starters and a lot of players who gained valuable minutes back in 2021. Forwards junior Valentin Kurz (0g, 1a) and sophomore Andrew Rotter (2g, 0a) are among returning candidates to help fill the gap that exists due to the departure of All-WCC First Team forward Lucas Andrews (4g, 2a). Senior Sebastian Schacht (3g, 1a), a 2020 All-WCC First Team selection and three-year starter, returns in the midfield along with senior Philippe Van der Lof and sophomore Cade Cowan. Sophomore backs Christian Engmann (1g, 2a), a WCC First Team member, junior Boyd Curry (3g, 1a), a WCC Second Team selection, and sophomores Andre Hoglin (1g, 0a) and Louis Sterobo (0g, 4a) return to anchor the defense along with fifth-year senior netminder Nicholas Lapinid, the starter between the pipes last year. The Gaels open the 2021 season with contests at home against California, Cal Poly and UNLV.
Coastal Carolina

The Chanticleers move from the Sun Belt to Conference USA in 2021. The jury is still out on Coastal Carolina since they must overcome the loss of several key players and acclimate to a new slate of conference opponents. The Chanticleers will receive plenty of competition from CSUA opponents. What is known is that this is a program under the direction of Shaun Docking that has a winning culture and that annually does a good job of reloading and filling any gaps that exist. Senior midfielder Marcello Jones (2g, 6a) is among returning playmakers who will play a prominent role in 2021. Coastal Carolina will have settle in quickly with with a season opening contest at home against Kentucky followed by games on the road with non-conference foe High Point and conference foes Marshall and South Carolina.

Nine starters return from a young 2020 team that started slowly but improved as the season progressed. This team will not need the same breaking-in period as last year. Sophomore Jacen Russell-Rowe (2g, 0a) and seniors Justin Gielen (1g, 1a) and Brayan Padilla are among returning players with the potential to add punch to the attack up-top. Sophomore Ben Bender (2g, 0a), a 2020 All-Big Ten Second Team selection, returns in the midfield along with junior Malcolm Johnson (2g, 0a) and sophomore Joe Suchecki (1g, 0a). Center backs senior Brett St. Martin, a 2020 All-Big Ten Second Team selection and junior Chris Rindov (0g, 1a) along with outside backs sophomore Alex Nitzl, redshirt junior Nick Richardson (0g, 3a) and sophomore Kento Abe. Sophomore Jamie Lowell who started eight contests in the spring and junior Niklas Neumann who started three contests in 2020 and was the starter in goal in 2019 return between the pipes. Look for the experience the younger Terps gained last year to pay dividends in 2021.

The Spartans remain a work in progress but look to be well prepared to build on the success they enjoyed last year with a solid core of players returning from the 2020 team that was 9-3-2 overall and secured a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2010 season. All-Southern Conference First Team members sophomore forward Theo Collomb (8g, 3a) and senior forward Fernando Garcia (5g, 0a) return to provide firepower to the UNCG attack. Both are very capable and confident goal scorers. Junior Angel Bacho (1g, 1a) and senior Izaiah Vignali (1g, 0a) are among returning midfielders. Sophomore Emmanuel Hagen, a 2020 All-Southern Conference First Team selection, senior Matthew Cutler (2g, 4a) and juniors Myson Darden and Ethan Conley return to give the Spartans a talented and experienced backline. Sophomore Niclas Wild who had a 0.82 goals against average during the spring 2021 season returns in goal with the benefit of a year of starting experience under his belt.

Others Receiving Votes: Denver, Virginia, Bowling Green, Saint Francis Brooklyn, American, UC Davis, Michigan, Campbell, Nebraska-Omaha, Milwaukee, Tulsa

Posted in CSN Preseason Top 30 Poll, Uncategorized

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