Dominican Labeled Favorite to Take 2019 NACC Men's Soccer Crown

Dominican has been tapped as the early favorite to with the 2019 NACC men's soccer title.
Dominican has been tapped as the early favorite to with the 2019 NACC men's soccer title.

MILWAUKEE, Wis. --- Dominican University has been tapped as the early favorite to with the 2019 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference men's soccer title according to the league's annual preseason poll released Friday.

The NACC preseason poll is voted on by the NACC's head coaches and athletics communications professionals.

Dominican (15-6-1 overall, 8-3-0 NACC), which captured the 2018 NACC Tournament title as the No. 3 seed and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Championship, topped the preseason poll with 275 points and 11 first-place votes. The Stars were named either first or second on each of the 24 ballots. Aurora University, last year's regular-season runner-up, picked up four first-place votes and edged defending league champion Milwaukee School of Engineering by just three points, 246-243. MSOE received top billing on seven ballots but also found itself listed as low as seventh. Benedictine University slotted in at fourth place with 223 points and the final two first-place votes. 

Concordia University Wisconsin (202 points), Illinois Institute of Technology (148), Wisconsin Lutheran College (147), Edgewood College (127), Rockford University (86), Marian University (83), Concordia University Chicago (56), and Lakeland University (36) round out the poll.

2019 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference
Men's Soccer Preseason Poll
Rank School (1st place votes) Points 2018 Record
1. Dominican (11) 275 15-6-1, 8-3-0 NACC
2. Aurora (4) 246 9-9-1, 8-2-1 NACC
3. MSOE (7) 243 15-4-0, 10-1-0 NACC
4. Benedictine (2) 223 11-7-0, 8-3-0 NACC
5. Concordia Wisconsin 202 11-7-1, 7-3-1 NACC
6. Illinois Tech 148 9-9-0, 4-7-0 NACC
7. Wisconsin Lutheran 147 7-11-0, 6-5-0 NACC
8. Edgewood 127 10-7-2, 5-4-2 NACC
9. Rockford 86 8-10-2, 3-7-1 NACC
10. Marian 83 4-10-2, 2-8-1 NACC
11. Concordia Chicago 56 3-12-0, 2-9-0 NACC
12. Lakeland 36 3-16-0, 0-11-0 NACC

New Coaches: The NACC will have three new men's soccer coaches this season. John Saleska succeeds his father, Tom, as head men's coach at CUW after serving as an assistant coach since 2015. The elder Saleska stepped down after amassing 324 victories, nine conference titles and two trips to the NCAA Division III Championship in 26 seasons.

At MSOE, Rob Harrington was elevated to the head men's position after the passing of longtime coach Jimmy Banks in April. Harrington has been with the MSOE program as an assistant and goalkeeper coach since 2008. In that time, he helped the Raiders to a 139-67-12 record, two NACC regular-season championships (2014, 2018), two NACC tournament titles (2014, 2015) and a pair of appearances in the NCAA Division III Championship.

The third new face in charge is Romaric Setodji at Edgewood. Setodji replaces Derek Helmer, who now leads the Edgewood women's program. He won 17 games in three seasons leading the women's program at the University of Valley Forge, taking over a program that had gone winless in the year prior to his arrival.

2019 Schedule: The 2019 NACC men's soccer schedule gets underway Friday, Aug. 30 with nine games - Fontbonne at Concordia Wisconsin, Dominican at Illinois College, Wisconsin Lutheran at Ripon, Marian at Saint Mary's (Minn.), Rockford at Principia, Beloit at Illinois Tech, MSOE at UW-Platteville, Alma at Aurora and Hope against Benedictine (at Aurora). Edgewood (vs. Hiram at Defiance, Ohio) and Lakeland (vs. Finlandia at Ashland, Wis.) get underway the following day. Concordia Chicago will be the final NACC program to start its regular season when the Cougars host Moody Bible Institute on Wednesday, Sept. 4.

The conference slate opens up with six games on Wednesday, Sept. 25 as Concordia Wisconsin hosts Rockford, Lakeland is at MSOE, Edgewood and Marian battle in Madison, Dominican travels to Illinois Tech, Aurora entertains Concordia Chicago, and Benedictine makes the trek north to face Wisconsin Lutheran.

League play concludes on Wednesday, Oct. 30 with the top six teams in the final regular-season standings advancing to the NACC Tournament. First-round matches are slated for Saturday, Nov. 2, with semifinals to be played Tuesday, Nov. 5. The semifinal winners will meet Saturday, Nov. 9 for the tournament crown and the associated automatic berth into the 2019 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship.