Five Teams With Double-Digit Wins In 2018 Who Have Unfinished Business To Attend To In 2019

These teams had successful seasons in 2018 but each fell just short of achieving a goal that was within their grasp.  Each returns a solid core of experienced and talented players. Look for each of them to be highly motivated and hungry teams in 2019. 

Wright State - Jake Slemker's first season as the head coach at Wright State was a productive one. The Raiders were 13-3-3 overall and won the Horizon League regular season title with a 6-1-1 mark in conference play. Wright State was one win away from a berth in the NCAA Tournament when they were topped by UIC 3-1 in the Horizon League Tournament Championship game. An at-large berth seemed a possibility with an RPI in the high thirty's but none was forthcoming.

The 2018 season was the fifth in a row that the Raivders have had double-digit win seasons. The 2019 season could be the one in which Wright State punches their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. However, in order to do that they will need to fill the rather large void that exists due to the graduation of center backs All-American Dan Bent who was the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year and Eric Hutton. Both were multi-year starters. In addition, the Raiders will have to find a way to dethrone the UIC Flames who have won the Horizon League Championship and the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament that goes with it for three seasons in a row. 

The good news is that nine starters are slated to return from the 2018 squad that found the back of the net a total of forty-four times while holding opponents to a total of twenty-one goals. Senior Joel Sundell, the Horizon League Goalkeeper of the Year, returns to anchor the defense along with senior backs Sam Orisatoki and Austin Kinley. The offense should again pack plenty of punch in 2019 with senior forward Alec Philippe (11g, 6a) returning along with midfielders junior Jackson Dietrich (5g, 12a) and seniors Stefan Rokvic (10g, 2a) and Deri Corfe (10g, 8a). 

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley - Those footsteps that members of the Western Athletic Conference hear closing in on them belong to UTRGV. The Vaqueros turned heads in 2018 with a program best 14-6-0 overall record and impressive 8-3-0 mark in WAC play. A very significant accomplishment when you consider the fact that UTRGV began fielding a men's Division I soccer team in 2015 after an eighteen-year hiatus. Under the direction of Paul Leese, the 2018 WAC Coach of the Year, the confidence level and the consistency of play at UTRGV has steadily improved. The Vaqueros won five contests in 2015, six in 2016, seven in 2017 and then doubled to fourteen in 2018.

Second seeded UTRGV secured its first ever win in the WAC Tournament in 2018 when they topped UNLV 4-1 in the first round. Their season and hope of advancing to the championship match and earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament then came to an end when they were upset by six seeded San Jose State 1-0 in the tournament semifinals.

Leese has some gaps to plug on the defensive side of the ball in 2019 due to the graduation of several backs including All-WAC First Team selection Antone Jarvis. Regardless, Lesse will have plenty of returning talent to work with which bodes well for the chances of another step forward for UTRGV in 2019.

Senior goalkeeper Andy Rios and junior back Guillermo Martinez return to provide a solid necleus upon which to reload the defense. Senior forwards Kyle Edwards (14g, 5a) and Wiliam Akio (5g, 10a) along with midfielders senior Arthur Rogers (1g, 2a) and junior Bryce Box (4g, 2a) are among the components of what should be a balanced and productive offense. 

Fairfield University - The number one seeded Stags opened 2018 MAAC Tournament play by hosting a Rider team that they had defeated 3-2 during regular season play with a gutsy come from behind win in which they scored three unanswered goals in the final forty minutes of regulation. Despite the fact that Fairfield won the regular season MAAC title with an 8-0-2 mark in conference play they knew that achieving their goal of back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 2018 was dependent on winning the conference tourney and the automatic berth that goes with it.

The disappointment and the feeling of what might have been was vividly reflected on the faces of a young Farifield team when their season and dream of another berth in the NCAA Tourney came to an abrupt end when they were upset by Rider 2-0 in the semifinals of the conference tournament. But the disappointment also created a deep desire among the returning players for a different ending in 2019.

A resilitent Rider team that had struggled during the early part of the season subsequently defeated number two seed Quinnipiac 1-0 in the tournament final to claim the MAAC Championship for the third time in the past four seasons. 

A determined Fairfield team will enter the 2019 season under the guidance of veteran head coach Carl Rees with almost everyone back and the added plus of having a lot of young players who now have a year of experience under their belts. Fairfield will be a difficult team to handle in 2019 if the sophomores get the normal bump in performance that comes after a year of play and the upperclassmen set the pace. 

Junior Gordon Botterill, the MAAC Goalkeeper of the Year and junior back Jonas Vergin, the 2018 MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, return to anchor a defense that allowed a total of nineteen goals last year. Junior Matt Mclinchey (0g, 6a), senior Joseph Meyer (3g, 1a) and sophomore Santiago Gonzalez (3g, 0a) provide a solid necleus in the midfield. Junior Don-Junior Bobe (0g, 1a) and sophomores Jonathan Filipe (4g, 0a) and Jack Weiss (3g, 2a) return up-top to add a little shake and bake to the attack.  

Mercer University - The Bears were 12-4-2 overall in 2018 and won the Southern Conference regular season title with a 5-1-0 mark in league play.  Mercer's chances of becoming the first Southern Conference team since 2008 to conclude regular season league play without a loss looked promising heading down the home stretch but dissolved when they were defeated 2-1 at home by nemesis ETSU in their final regular season contest.  The ETSU win halted an eight game Mercer win streak.  

Regardless the number one seeded Bears entered the Southern Conference Tournament focused on  winning the tournament title and punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the third season in a row.  But Mercer's season came to an unexpected end when they were upset by UNCG 1-0 in the semifinals of the conference tournament.  The contest was only the second time during the 2018 campaign that Mercer was held scoreless. The Bears had recently topped UNCG 3-0 in regular season play. 

Furman subsequently defeated UNCG 3-0 in the tournament final to win the Southern Conference Tournament for the first time since 2015. Ironically Furman lost to UNCG 1-0 during the regular season. 

Mercer head coach Brad Ruzzo will enter the 2019 season with voids to fill in the midfield due to the graduation of Kobe Perez (4g, 4a) and Jake Mezei (2g, 5a) and in the back due to the  graduation of Ramario Thompson (5g, 1a). The good news is that Ruzzo will have plenty of experienced talent to work with that will be highly motivated to write a new ending to their season in 2019.  

Southern Conference Player of the Year sophomore Trevor Martineau (9g, 7a) and All-Southern Conference First Team member redshirt junior Leo Toledo Jr. (6g, 8a) return to power the attack up-top.  Senior Roberto Arteaga (4g, 8a) and junior Josh Harrison (1g, 2a) provide a solid nucleus upon which to reload the midfield.  RS Junior JR DeRose returns to anchor the defense in goal along with backs junior Kareve Richards and sophomore Jason Nduese-Udom.   

UC Davis -  Just one win away. The Aggies hopes of securing the program's first ever Big West Conference Tournament title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament were dashed for the second year in a row in the tourney final in heartbreaking fashion when they came out on the losing end of a penalty kick shootout.  In 2017 they fell at home to Cal State Fullerton 4-3 (a team they topped 2-1 during regular season play) in a shootout after the contest was scoreless at the end of regulation and extra time.  In 2018 the Aggies were topped 4-2 by UC Riverside ( a team they defeated 3-0 during regular season play) after the contest was scoreless at the conclusion of 110 minutes of play. 

UC Davis completed the 2018 season with an 11-4-5 overall record that included a 3-3-1 mark in conference play.  In 2017 the Aggies were 11-7-3 overall with a 7-2-1 mark in conference play. UC Davis had back-to-back double digit seasons for the first time since 2007 and 2008. The Aggies hoped that an eleven win season and an RPI in the high thirties would yield an at-large berth in the NCAA Tourney but the selection committee felt otherwise.  

UC Davis head coach Dwayne Shaffer will enter the 2019 team without the services of Two-Time Big West Defensive Player of the Year Roy Boateng and Justin Wright (4g, 4a). Their departure creates a challenge for an Aggie defense that allowed a total of only seventeen goals last year. On the plus side of the ledger, the return of RS senior goalkeeper Wallis Lapsley and backs junior Jake Haupt and redshirt sophomore Kaleb Schirmacher provides a solid foundation for continued success on the defensive side of the ball. Redshirt senior Adam Mickelson (4g, 6a) returns to add firepower to the attack up-top and the midfield should be deep with redshirt sophomore Andy Velasquez (3g, 0a), senior Marte Formico (2g, 1a), and redshirt junior Nabi Kibunguchy (0g, 1a) among those slated to return.  

The 2019 season could be the one in which the Aggies join the NCAA Tournament field. 

Final CSN 2019 MLS SuperDraft Mock Draft

The twentieth MLS SuperDraft will take place in Chicago, Illinois on Friday, January 11, 2019.  College Soccer News' updated projections are provided below. 

1. FC Cincy - Frankie Amaya** (UCLA) - Cincy picks Amaya, a U.S youth international, who despite not playing in the combine, remains one of the players with the highest upside in this draft class.

2. San Jose - Tajon Buchanan** (Syracuse) - If San Jose keeps their pick, Buchanan, a pacey winger and GA player is the best available.

3. Orlando City - Andre Shinyashiki (Denver) - Orlando City could go many directions with this pick, but they go with Shinyashiki, a natural goalscorer and creator, who could be productive, if used correctly.

4. FC Dallas - Callum Montgomery (Charlotte) - Dallas goes with the most MLS ready defender in the draft, Mongomery, a steady CB, who showed MLS scouts his 1 v 1 defending and ability to play out of the back.

5. Chicago Fire - John Nelson** (UNC) - With the retirement of Brandon Vincent, Chicago pick the best LB available and member of the GA class, John Nelson.

6. Toronto FC - Dayne St. Clair** (Maryland) - Toronto goes with Canadian GK they’re familiar with, St. Clair, who’s the GK with the brightest future.

7. Minnesota - Siad Haji** (VCU) - Once considered a potential number one pick, Haji, falls to Minnesota, a team that will be glad to get the U.S. YNT playmaker.

8. Houston - JJ Williams** (Kentucky) - Houston goes with the strong forward, J.J Williams, who despite having an average combine, showed enough this year at Kentucky to earn a top 10 selection.

9. New England - Griffin Dorsey** (Indiana) - With the ninth pick, Friedel selects a U.S. youth international he’s familiar with in Dorsey, capable of playing centrally or on the wing.

10. FC Dallas - Santiago Patino (FIU) - Dallas select Patino, a strong and creative forward, who showed well at the MLS Combine.

11. New England - Tommy McCabe (Notre Dame) - New England nab McCabe a former U.S residency midfielder, who’s fluid in possession and could be a good fit, if used correctly.

12. LA Galaxy - Camden Riley (Pacific) - Galaxy go with a local product they’re familiar with in Riley, a technical midfielder.

13. Philadelphia Union - Logan Gdula (Wake Forest) - The Union choose athletic right back Gdula, who may end up being the top outside back in this draft class.

14. DC United - Andrew Samuels (Maryland) - DC United go with Samuels, a versatile player, capable of playing right back or as a defensive midfielder.

15. Colorado - DeJuan Jones (Michigan State) - The Rapids pick Jones, a pacey athlete, who will likely be used as a winger or outside back.

16. FC Cincy - Akeem Ward (Creighton) - FC Cincy pick Ward, a smart outside back, who should add depth for the expansion side.

17. Real Salt Lake - Sergio Rivas (Seattle) - RSL go with creative midfielder Rivas, who RSL will be glad drops to them this late in the first round.

18. Columbus - Brad Dunwell (Wake Forest) - Columbus pick Dunwell, a midfielder who’s simple in possession and was once thought of as a consensus top ten pick.

19. NYCFC - Rashid Nuhu (Fordham) - NYCFC select the best GK available with the athletic Rashid Nuhu out of Fordham.

20. Seattle Sounders - Tucker Bone (Air Force) - The Sounders take a waiver on Tucker Bone, who impressed with his vision and passing ability at the combine.

21. Sporting KC - Amir Bashti (Stanford) - Sporting KC pick one of the top wingers in the draft with Bashti, a former San Jose Earthquakes product.

22. New York Red Bulls - Prosper Figbe (Virginia) - The Red Bulls pick Figbe, a strong CB, who could develop into an MLS player if he improves his passing.

23. Portland Timbers - Abdi Mohamed (Akron) - Portland pick Mohamed, a smart midfielder, converted to right back.

24. Atlanta Utd - Anderson Asiedu (UCLA) - Atlanta pick Asiedu, a ball-winning defensive midfielder, who improved his stock with a great combine performance.

**Generation Adidas signings

The 2018 College Soccer Season - It Was A Season To Remember For These Programs

The 2018 season was a shining season for the programs identified. They may have greatly exceeded expectations, had more wins that ever before, accomplished something that will serve as a springboard for future seasons, or put together an impropable run. Regardless of the reason, it was a season that will be remembered, that will always be a source of pride and accomplishment for those involved, and that will have a positive impact on the program for years to come. 

Maryland - The 2018 accolades have to begin with the Terps who rebounded from a 4-5-3 start to go 9-1-1 down the homestretch in an amazing run that concluded with the National Championship. Maryland's NCAA Tournament run included wins over NC State, Duke, Kentucky, Indiana and Akron during which time they found the back of the net eight times and didn't allow a single goal.  The National Title was Maryland's third under the direction of head coach Sasho Cirovski.  It was a total team effort for a unified group that was unstoppable once all the pieces fell into place.  Junior center back Donovan Pines was named an All-American by United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News.  Senior midfielder Amar Sejdic joined Pines as First-Team All-Big Ten selection. Midfielder William James Herve was a College Soccer News First-Team All-Freshman Team selection. 

Akron - Unbroken.  This was supposed to be a rebuilding season for Akron.  The Zips could have settled for an average season after concluding regular season play with a 7-6-2 overall record and a disappointing 1-2-1 mark in MAC play.  Instead they rallied and topped SIUE, West Virginia, and Western Michigan to win the MAC Tournament and the program's twelfth consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament.  Unseeded Akron then faced what appeared to be an impossible path to the College Cup. But they defied the odds by defeating Rider 3-1 at home and Syracuse 3-1, Wake Forest 1-0 , and Stanford 3-2 on the road to punch their ticket to the College Cup for the second consecutive year.  Akron then topped Michigan State 5-1 before being edged by Maryland 1-0 in the national championship match.  It was a season to remember for an Akron team that showed a ton of grit and talent by rebounding to win nine out of their last ten contests.   

Michigan State - A senior led Spartan team advanced to the College Cup with a brilliant run in the NCAA Tournament that included wins over UIC at home, number four seed Louisville and number thirteen seed Georgetown on the road, and James Madison at home.  It was the first time since the 1967 and 1968 seasons that Michigan State advanced to the College Cup.  The Spartans' season had ended in the Elite Eight three times in the prior five seasons but that was not to be the case in 2018.  Michigan State concluded a banner year with a 14-5-4 record which tied the program record for wins in a single season. The excitement in the program that this team generated will pay dividends for years to come. 

Kentucky - The 2018 team forever raised the standard of excellence at Kentucky.  The Wildcats concluded the season with a 19-2-1 overall record and advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in the history of the program.  Kentucky had signature wins during regular season play over Louisville, Indiana, and Old Dominion.  They won the CUSA regular season and tournament titles and were ranked as the number one team in the country in the College Soccer News regular season ending poll.  Kentucky was awarded the number three seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced past Portland 4-0 and Lipscomb 2-1 before their season came to an end in the Elite Eight when they were topped by eventual national champion Maryland 1-0. It was an outstanding and history making season which will serve as a building block for even greater seasons in the future. The Wildcats were ranked as the number five team in the country in both the United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News Final 2018 Season Ending Polls.   

Saint Mary's - The Gaels deserve to be at the top of the short list of teams with historic 2018 seasons.  No team in the country exceeded preseason expectations or raised the bar of excellence for a program more in 2018 than Saint Mary's.  The Gaels have had successful seasons in the past including a run to the Elite Eight in 2011 but in 2018 Saint Mary's had their best season in program history with an 18-0-2 record, surpassing the previous win total for a single campaign by six wins.  Saint Mary's found the back of the net a total of fifty times while allowing a total of only eight goals.  They won the 2018 West Coast Conference title, returned to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since 2011, and were awarded the number eight seed. The Gaels topped Oregon State 1-0  before being edged by Stanford in the Sweet Sixteen in a contest that was decided by a penalty kick shootout after in was scoreless after 110 minutes of play.  Forward Jake Rudel and goalkeeper Remi Prieur were United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News All-America selections.  Saint Mary's was ranked as the number eight team in the country in the College Soccer News final season ending poll and the number nine team in the nation in the United Soccer Coaches Poll.  Gael head coach Adam Cooper and his assistants Josh Duffy and Charlie Campbell were honored by the United Soccer Coaches as the Division I Coaching Staff of the Year.   

James Madison - Paul Zazenski's first season as the head coach at JMU was a truly memorable one. Coming up with an encore may not be easy but that is a nice problem to have.  The Dukes swept both the CAA regular season and tournament titles, returned to the national rankings for the first time since the 2011 season, and earned the program's thirteenth invite to the NCAA Tournament. James Madison then took to the road to defeat High Point 3-0 in the first round of the tourney. They followed that up with an impressive 2-1 win over number five seeded North Carolina in Chapel Hill and a 3-0 win over number twelve seeded Virginia Tech in Blacksburg before being edged 1-0 by Michigan State in East Lansing in the Elite Eight.  The trip to the Elite Eight was JMU's first since 1995. The Dukes finished a truly outstanding season with a 15-5-3 record, recording the most wins in a single season since 2004. The Dukes were ranked by College Soccer News as the number nine team in the nation and by the United Soccer Coaches as the number ten team in their final season ending polls.  Zazenski and his staff of Adam Perron, Nicholas Melville and Joe Warren were named the Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year by the United Soccer Coaches. Junior midfielder Manuel Ferriol was a First Team All-Atlantic Region selection and graduate student midfielder Yannick Franz was an All-Atlantic Region Second Team honoree.  Redshirt sophomore TJ Bush anchored a tenacious JMU defense that posted thirteen shutouts. 

Air Force - The Falcons recorded a program best seventeen wins in 2018 topping the previous high held by the 1993 squad. Air Force won the Western Athletic Conference regular season title for the second season in a row, they were a perfect 10-0-0 at home, and secured back-to-back invites to the NCAA Tournament. The Falcons topped Central Arkansas 4-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and upset number nine seed Denver on the road to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1993.  Their season came to an end in the Sweet Sixteen when they were defeated by number two seeded Indiana 2-0 in Bloomington. Air Force head coach Doug Hill summed it all up when he stated, "I'll be remembering this season for a long time."  Hill and his staff of Chris Foster, Hank Lewis and Tyler Amerman were named the Far West Region Coaching Staff of the Year by the United Soccer Coaches. Senior co-captains forward Austin Dewing and midfielder Tucker Bone were College Soccer News and United Soccer Coaches All-America selections. The 2018 senior class finished their tenure at Air Force with the most career wins (52) of any Air Force class in program history. The seniors clearly raised the bar of excellence and left their mark on the program.     

West Virginia - The Mountaineers secured the program's first Mid-American Conference regular season title in 2018 with a perfect 5-0-0 mark in league play.  They were 14-7-0 overall recording the most wins in a single season since back in 2007. West Virginia returned to the NCAA Tournament field for the thirteenth time and the first time since the 2011 season. The Mountaineers topped LIU Brooklyn 4-2 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in a contest in which they came from two goals down. Their season subsequently came to an end when they were edged 1-0 by thirteenth seeded Georgetown 1-0 in the second round.  The 2018 season created a solid foundation which should serve as a stepping stone for even greater success in the future. Senior midfielder Joey Piatczyc, who finished a stellar career in Morgantown with thirty-five carrer assists and twelve goals, was honored by both the United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News as an All-American and was named the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year.  Sophomore goalkeeper Steven Tekesky was named to the All-MAC First Team. Marlon LeBlanc was honored as the MAC Coach of the Year.  

Lipscomb - It was a gutsy "never say never" year for Lipscomb. The Bisons rebounded from a 1-7-0 start to finish the season with a 10-10-1 recored that included a national ranking and the program's first ever run to the Sweet Sixteen. Lipscomb punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournamnet by winning the ASUN Tournament for the second year in a row.  The Bisons then took to the road and advanced past Washington in a contest that was decided by a penatly kick shootout and fourteen seeded UCF 1-0 before what was truly a storybook season came to an end when they were edged by number three seed Kentucky 2-1. Redsirt senior forward Logan Paynter, a four-time All-ASUN First Team selection, was a 2018 College Soccer News All-American. The 2018 team made a statement that will fuel the continued success of the program. It was a speciall season that head coach Charles Morrow and his staff, the Lipscomb players, and the Lipscomb community will remember with a great deal of pride.  

UC Irvine - The 2018 season signaled that good things are in the works at UC Irvine under the direction of second-year head coach Yossi Raz. The Anteaters won the Big West Conference regular season title for the first time since 2013 with an impressive 5-1-1 mark in league play and returned to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since 2014. The Anteaters then advanced past Grand Canyon in a contest that went to a penatly kick shootout before falling to west coast powerhouse Stanford 2-0 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to conclude a very successful season with a 11-7-4 overall record. Ivan Canales was named the Big West Offensive Player of the Year and was named a Third-Team All-American by College Soccer News. Daniel Crisostomo was honered as the Big West Midfielder of the Year while Raz was named the Big West Coach of the Year to become the first Anteater to claim that honor since George Kuntz did so in 2008.  UC Irvine will miss the services of a solid senior class that included the likes of Canales and Crisostomo and defender Darren Hamilton but the addition of a very talented 2019 recruiting class bodes well for continued success. 

Oregon State - It is highly likely that Oregon State will look back on the 2018 season as the beginning of a significant turnaround for the program. Under the direction of first year head coach Terry Boss, the Beavers recorded the highest win total in Pac-12 play since the 2003 season with a 6-3-1 mark in league play. Oregon State punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for just the fourth time in the history of the program and the first time since the 2014 season.  The Beavers then advanced past SMU 2-1 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Saint Mary's 1-0 in the second round to finish the season with a solid 11-6-3 overall record.  Boss was honored as the Pac-12 Coach of the Year, midfielder Sofiane Djeffal was named the 2018 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, and senior forward Don Tchilao was a Pac-12 First Team selection. The Terry Boss era at Oregon State got off to a great start in 2018.  

High Point - The 2018 season will be remembered as the first in which HPU earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament.  It was a histroy making season for the Panthers who broke into the national rankings while earning their second consecutive Big South regular season championship with a 7-0-1 mark in league play.  High Point finished the season with a 13-3-2 overall record that included a signature 1-0 win over Duke University on the road.  Head coach EJ O'Keeffe and assistants Josh Gillon, Travis Morris, and Erik Casterline were honored as the South Region Staff of the Year.  Senior defender Johnny Fenwick was a United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News All-America selection.  Fenwick accurately summed the significance of the 2018 season up when he stated, "Everyone involved has worked so hard to leave the program in a better place than we found it, and because of that the future looks very promising for HPU men's soccer."

Grand Canyon - It was a history making season for the Lopes who claimed the WAC tournament title, secured the program's first ever NCAA tournament bid, and closed out the season on a seven-game unbeaten streak.  After not securing a victory over a top-25 opponent in their first five Division I seasons, the Lopes secured a spot on the college soccer map in 2018 when they surprised everyone with season opening wins over nationally ranked Wisconsin and Creighton and signature wins later in the season over Seattle and Air Force twice.  Coach Schellas Hyndman summed up the significance of the season when he stated, "It's historic. It just goes to show that if you keep working at it and you give it time, you can really turn a program. The future of GCU, this is the the start."  Hyndman added, "We'll make history and it'll be easier moving forward because people will want to be here."