FAIRFIELD, CT (August 16, 2012) - The Sacred Heart men's soccer team was tabbed fourth in the 2012 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll released by the league on Wednesday. The Pioneers received one first place vote in this year's poll and are coming off a 2011 season where they claimed a share of the NEC regular season title, a program first.
The defending champion Monmouth Hawks were picked to win their eighth-straight title this fall, garnering seven first-place votes. Fairleigh Dickinson was picked second and Saint Francis (PA) third in front of the Pioneers.
SHU head coach Joe Barroso begins his eighth season on the sidelines with the Pioneer men and his 16th season overall with the University. The Pioneers finished 2011 with a 10-5-4 mark and were 6-1-3 in NEC play, sharing the regular season championship with Monmouth and Central Connecticut State. Despite falling in the opening round of the confernce tournament, Barroso welcomes back a talented bunch ready to compete for the program's first ever NEC crown again this fall.
Leading the way is the reigning NEC Player and Defensive Player of the Year in senior Marcello Castro (Panana, Brazil). Castro was the Pioneers leading scorer in 2011, totalling six goals and 13 points. He buried four game-winners on the year.
The Pioneers are two weeks away from their 2012 season-opener at Saint Peter's. SHU will make their Campus Field debut on Sunday, September 2nd hosting Columbia. The NEC slate will kick-off full-time on the weekend of September 28-30 with Robert Morris and Saint Francis (PA) coming to Fairfield.