NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – With their 2014 season set to begin this Saturday at Roger Williams University, the Little East Conference has released their annual preseason poll, in which the Beacons picked to finish tied for third with Rhode Island College.
The reigning Warriors of Eastern Connecticut State University were picked to repeat as champions having earned 55 total points and six first place votes. UMass Dartmouth was selected to finish second with 43 points and one first place vote.
UMass Boston and Rhode Island College each collected 39 points, while the Owls of Keene State College earned 34 to earn a fifth place ranking on this year's preseason poll. Plymouth State University was selected to finish sixth after earning 31 points. Western Connecticut State University, and the University of Southern Maine rounded out the poll in seventh and eighth place with 15 and 14 points respectively.
Last season the Beacons under the direction of head coach Jake Beverlin stunned the Little East Conference as they began a new chapter in the program's history. This was reflected in this year's preseason poll, as it marked the first time since 2000 that the Beacons were ranked in the top-3.
Coach Beverlin has all three All-Conference selections from last season back on this year's roster in seniors Marcus Pizzetti (Malden, Mass.) and Rolando Barbosa (Fogo, Cape Verde), and sophomore Edmilson Barros (Praia, Cape Verde). Pizzetti exploded onto the scene in his first year as the Beacons top offensive produce with his 12 goals and six assists. Barbosa, who was a second team selection, also had a breakout season with UMass registering 18 points (8g, 2a) on the year.
Barros, earned Rookie of the Year honors, after posting 12 goals and three assists in his first collegiate campaign. The Beacons as a team posted an overall record of 11-7-1, 3-3-1 in the LEC, and finished just short of qualifying for the conference tournament.
The Beacons will face RPI on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the semi-final round of the Roger Williams University/Turfer Classic from Bristol, Rhode Island.
2014 Little East Conference Preseason Poll
|1.||Eastern Connecticut State U. (6)||55 pts.|
|2.||UMass Dartmouth (1)||43 pts.|
|T-3.||UMass Boston||39 pts.|
|T-3.||Rhode Island College||39 pts.|
|5.||Keene State College||34 pts.|
|6.||Plymouth State University||31 pts.|
|7.||Western Connecticut State U.||15 pts.|
|8.||U. of Southern Maine||14 pts.|
|( ) First Place Votes|