BOSTON - The University of New Hampshire men's soccer team was picked to finish third out of 10 schools in America East in the preseason coaches' poll released Monday, totaling 56 points and garnering a first place vote. New Hampshire's third place selection is its highest since 1994, when the 'Cats were picked second and received a first place vote. That year UNH went 15-5-2, reached the North Atlantic Conference finals and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.

UNH returns 16 players, including six of the top seven scorers, from a squad that finished fourth in conference play with a 10-5-2 overall mark and a 4-2-2 ledger in America East. The Wildcats reached the conference tournament for the second straight year. Among the returnees are First Team All-New England defender Brendan Hankard (Glastonbury, Conn.), second-leading scorer Logan Lee (Racine, Wis.) and America East Second Team selection Josh Hareld (North Kingstown, R.I.). New Hampshire will also have a total of 10 newcomers in the mix.

After returning from a 10-day preseason trip to Europe on August 24, the 'Cats open the 2003 schedule with the 14th Annual Nike Fall Soccer Classic. UNH faces St. Joseph's on August 29 then takes on the Gaels of Iona College August 31. Defending conference champion Northeastern was the choice of the coaches, garnering eight of the 10 first place votes, with the other first place vote going to Boston University, selected second.


The 2003 America East Preseason Men's Soccer Poll:

1. Northeastern (8) - 80
2. Boston U. (1) -- 66
3. New Hampshire (1) -- 56
4. Vermont -- 55
5. Hartford -- 54
6. UMBC -- 45
7. Albany -- 37
8. Binghamton -- 25
9. Stony Brook -- 17
10. Maine -- 13

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