The Central Connecticut men's soccer team was picked to finish second in the Northeast Conference preseason coaches poll released on Wednesday. Central is coming off an 8-8-2 overall record a year ago, and a 6-3-1 mark in NEC action.
The Blue Devils were picked second behind 2012 tournament champion Fairleigh Dickinson. St. Francis U is third, followed by Sacred Heart, Bryant, St. Francis Brooklyn, LIU Brooklyn and Robert Morris.
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Despite graduating four All-NEC performers, including NEC Player of the Year Reece Wilson, the Blue Devils return a roster with veteran talent that ranked high in several NEC statistical categories a year ago.
The Blue Devils placed second in NEC play in goals scored a year ago with 18. Leading returning players include senior Eddy Bogle, sophomores Ben Knight and Freddy Metellus and junior Stephen Walmsley. Bogle ranked third on the team with four goals and 10 points, while defenders Knight and Walmsley combined for 10 points, scoring twice apiece. Metellus added a pair of goals.
In goal the Blue Devils will need to replace Anthony Occhialini, who started 17 of 18 total games last season and posted a 1.25 goals against average and a save percentage of .687. He was 8-7 on the year.
The Blue Devils open the 2013 campaign on August 30 on the road at West Virginia. Their first home game of the season is September 18 vs. UMass-Lowell at 7 p.m.