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Men's Soccer Picked Third By League Coaches
The University of Hartford men's soccer has been picked to finish third in the America East by the league's coaches in the 2012 preseason poll.
With 32 points in the poll, the Hawks finished behind conference favorite Stony Brook (48) and Boston University (43). The first-place votes were distributed among the top two teams as the Seawolves received six top votes and the Terriers garnered the remaining two. A single point distinguished the third and fourth place spots in the poll as UMBC came in fourth with 31 points.
The Vermont Catamounts followed UMBC in the poll with 22 points while Albany and Binghamton tied for sixth place with 17 points each. Rounding out the eight-team poll was New Hampshire which compiled 14 points.
In 2011, the Hawks finished 8-9-4 and closed out the campaign by winning five of their last six games to reach the America East title game for the first time in 12 years. Entering his second season at the helm of the program, head coach Tom Poitras will look to guide the program to its first league title and NCAA Tournament appearance since the 1999 season.
Thirteen players that contributed to Hartford's success last season are back for the 2012 campaign, led by strikers David Bernhardsson and Anthony Santaga. Bernhardsson, a 2011 America East All-Conference First Team selection, paced the Hawks' offense with 18 points and was the team's leader in goals (6) and assists (6). Additionally, he ranked first in the league in points per game (1.38) and goals per game (0.46). Santaga compiled 17 points in his debut season at Hartford and finished tied with Bernhardsson for the team lead in goals with six.
The return of sophomore Connor Yeaney and veterans James Stamopoulos and Kevin Lewis will also spark the Hawks in 2012. Yeaney, a defender who finished his freshman season with three goals, was an America East All-Rookie team pick last season. Stamopoulos, a midfielder, compiled seven points last year (3 goals, 1 assist) while Lewis is expected to control the team's midfield unit.