Looking Ahead to the 2019 Season: The 2018 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Men's Soccer Coach of the Year, Billy Shannon, returns for his fourth season at the helm of the Mariners.
"I'm really excited for the start of the season," said Shannon. "We've had a great two weeks of preseason with veterans coming into camp ready to go and first year guys stepping up and competing from the very start. With a big core of returning juniors and seniors, many of whom are starters, we add some strong pieces in the first year class which should both compliment and challenge the returners from 2018."
The 2018 NAC Men's Soccer Player of the Year, Matt Caron (Scarborough, Maine), enters his senior season and will be joined by fellow 2018 NAC First Team selections Evan Backus (Farmington, Maine) and Ryan Holmes (Newmarket, N.H.).
"This may be the strongest and deepest group we've had over the last four years which is incredibly encouraging, as we set our sights on the 2019 NAC Championship," added Shannon.
"Defenders Davis and Spiegel will attempt to return the defense to the top of the conference from a year ago," said Shannon. "While Backus will run the midfield and look to play a pivotal role as a two-way player who can create chances for us, as well as limit the other team's attacking players. Finally Caron will lead a Mariners attack that looks to contend for a NAC Championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament."
Season Opener: Maine Maritime hosts the University of New England on Friday, August 30 at 8:00 pm to kick off the season.
Against UNE: The Mariners are 9-9-2 all-time against the Nor'easters, including a 1-1-1 record in the last three meetings. Last season UNE defeated Maine Maritime 1-0, in Biddeford. When the Mariners are hosting, they are 5-3-1 against the Nor'easters.
Conference Play: The Mariners will open up NAC play against in-state rival, Husson University on Saturday, September 14 at 1:00 pm on Ritchie Field for Soccer Friends/Family/Alumni Day.
NAC Preseason Poll: Defending NAC champions, Thomas College received six first-place votes and 77 points to top the 2019 Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll.
Maine Maritime received two first-place votes and 70 points for a second-place prediction. Husson claimed the remaining first-place vote and 57 points to round out the top three.
SUNY Delhi enters their first year in the conference tied with SUNY Canton for the fourth place position, each receiving 51 points. NVU-Johnson finished sixth (40 points), UMaine-Farmington seventh (31 points), NVU-Lyndon eighth (16 points), and UMaine-Presque Isle (UMPI) landed in the ninth spot with 12 points.
Maine Maritime earned the 2018 top seed, a bye in the quarterfinals, and the right to host the final four of the conference tournament. Thomas finished second by virtue of a tiebreaker with Husson, and also received a bye for the quarterfinal round. In the quarterfinals, #4 Canton topped #5 NVU-Johnson, 5-0, and #3 Husson beat #6 UMaine-Farmington, 2-1, to reach the semifinals.
In the semifinal round, #4 SUNY Canton defeated the #1 Mariners, 2-1, at Ritchie Field before #2 Thomas bested #3 Husson by the same score. Thomas defeated SUNY Canton, 1-0 in the NAC Championship and represented the NAC in the 2018 NCAA Men's Soccer tournament, falling to Connecticut College in the first round.
Eight teams open non-conference play this weekend, on August 30. NAC contests begin on September 14 and continue through October.
The top six teams will qualify for the 2019 conference championship tournament, which begins with quarterfinal games on the first weekend in November. The semifinals and championship games are on November 9-10 at the site of the number one seed.
The NAC Champion will advance to the NCAA men's soccer tournament.
2019 NAC Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Thomas 77 (6)
2. Maine Maritime Academy 70 (2)
3. Husson 57 (1)
T4. Delhi 51
T4. Canton 51
6. NVU-Johnson 40
7. UMaine-Farmington 31
8. NVU-Lyndon 16
9. UMaine-Presque Isle 12
Click HERE to view the complete NAC Preseason Poll.
Looking Back at 2018: Last season the Mariners went 8-7-1 overall and 6-1 in the conference to clinch the top seed in the NAC Tournament. Maine Maritime fell to SUNY Canton, 2-1 in the NAC Semifinals.