Western Men's Soccer picked seventh in 2012 LEC Pre-Season Coaches Poll

From the desk of Jack Holleran - LEC Director of Communications

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA (Aug. 29) —  Eastern Connecticut State University has been chosen as the Little East men's soccer preseason favorite for the fifth consecutive campaign, according to the 2012 preseason coaches' poll. The Warriors are projected to sit atop the regular-season standings after earning five first place votes and 61 total points.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has been selected to finish second in the Little East race, edging Keene State College by just a single vote. The Corsairs earned one first place marker and 62 total points, while the Owls received the remaining two first place tallies.
Eastern Connecticut captured the program's second outright regular-season championship in 2011,
while sharing the title in 2009. Last season, Greg DeVito guided the Warriors to an overall record of 15-
6-1, marking the fifth consecutive campaign with at least 10 victories. Eastern Connecticut protected its
home field advantage in the Little East Championship, defeating UMass Dartmouth (4-0) and Keene
State College (1-0) to raise the conference trophy for the third time in program history. The Warriors
made their fourth appearance in the past five seasons in the NCAA Division III Championship. DeVito and
his charges advanced to the second round of the national tournament for the second straight season
with a win against Springfield College before falling at fourth-ranked Amherst College.

Eastern Connecticut will welcome eight starters and a total of 16 student-athletes back into the fold
from the 2011 squad. The Warriors will feature an explosive offensive attack with the return of their
top-six scorers. Senior striker Matt Furman (Montville, Conn.), a 2011 All-Little East first-team selection,
is expected to provide the offense spark for Eastern. In 2011, he ranked among the conference leaders
in game-winning goals (2nd, 4), goals (4th, 9), and points (4th, 22). Furman and the Warriors open their
2012 schedule at noon on Sept. 1, when Eastern Connecticut travels to Western New England.

UMass Dartmouth is making its highest appearance in the Little East men's soccer preseason coaches'
survey since 2002, when the Corsairs shared the No. 2 ranking. In 2011, Henry Almeida led UMass
Dartmouth to an overall mark of 11-7-1, including a 4-2-1 record in the conference circuit. The Corsairs
were the lone squad in the Little East to hand Eastern Connecticut a regular-season loss, defeating the
Warriors in the season finale 1-0. UMass Dartmouth earned the fourth seed in the Little East
Championship, but fell at top-seeded Eastern Connecticut.

In 2012, Almeida will return a total of 16 student-athletes, including 11 starters. The Corsairs welcome
back three student-athletes that produced at least 20 points last fall, led by freshman forward Nick
Gontijo (Hudson, Mass.). The 2011 Little East Rookie of the Year and first-team selection paced UMass
Dartmouth in game-winning goals (3), goals (10), and points (24), while ranking third in assists (4). The
Corsairs will begin their 2012 slate at the Southern Maine Soccer Classic at 4 p.m. on August 31, when
UMass Dartmouth squares off against the Coast Guard Academy.

The top-four teams in the final regular-season standings advance to the 2012 Little East Men's Soccer
Championship with the top-two teams hosting semifinal round action on Wednesday, Oct. 31. The two
semifinal winners will meet at the highest remaining seed on Nov. 3 in the championship match. The
conference champion will earn the automatic qualifier into the 2012 NCAA Division III Championship.
Completing the annual preseason coaches' survey in projected order of finish in the regular season
standings are Rhode Island College (38), University of Massachusetts Boston (34), Plymouth State
University (24), Western Connecticut State University (15), and University of Southern Maine (13).

Formed in 1986, the Little East serves as New England's premier athletic conference for public
institutions in NCAA Division III. Featuring 19 championship sports, the Little East sponsors quality
competition in every season for our student athletes. Our eight state colleges and universities dedicate
themselves to an ongoing fulfillment of the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship,
and citizenship.

2012 Little East Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
Rank Institution                   1st Place Total Points
1    Eastern Connecticut State         5         61
2    UMass Dartmouth                   1         52
3    Keene State College               2         51
4    Rhode Island College                        38
5    UMass Boston                                34
6    Plymouth State University                   24
7    Western Connecticut State Univ.             15
8    University of Southern Maine                13