MERRIMACK OPENS 2013 RANKED 17TH NATIONALLY
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Coming off arguably its best season in program history last fall, the Merrimack men's soccer team saw that success pay off in the form of nationwide respect on Tuesday after the first iteration of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire National Rankings were unveiled, with the Warriors slotted 17th out of 25 teams nationwide.
After finishing the fall of 2012 with a 15-4-2 overall mark, the Warriors are certainly projected to remain a force to be reckoned with according to the panel of voters from across the country.
Merrimack was one of just two Northeast-10 Conference schools pitted in the nation's top-25 to start the season; Southern New Hampshire, a team that handed Merrimack two of those four losses last fall, begins the year ranked seventh.
Defending national champion Lynn sat atop the poll in front of second-ranked Saginaw Valley State. Atlantic Region foe Mercyhurst was slotted fourth, with SNHU representing the highest-ranked East Region school in the No. 7 spot, one ahead of eighth-ranked LIU Post.
Last fall, Merrimack made school history with the program's first-ever berth in the Division II NCAA Tournament. That came after claiming the NE-10 regular season crown on the last day of the season en route to an appearance in the NE-10 Championship Final. The Warriors also won their first-ever NCAA Tournament game in the First Round against Franklin Pierce before bowing out to the Penmen in the Second Round.
Despite graduating a bulk of last year's historic squad, Merrimack returns several key components to the pitch this fall, highlighted by Northeast-10 Goalkeeper of the Year Jose Silva (Northborough, Mass.). He, along with fellow all-conference honoree Ronald Ried (Schwendi, Germany) helped set a program record with 12 goals allowed all season – the fewest in single-season history.
The 2013 campaign begins Thursday, Sept. 5, when the Warriors battle Dominican to open up the Marriott Kickoff Classic hosted by Merrimack on campus.