The reigning GLIAC Tournament champion Ashland University men's soccer squad was picked to finish fourth in the GLIAC standings in the preseason coaches' poll released by the league office on Friday (Aug. 9) morning.
The Eagles earned the sixth and final seed in the GLIAC Tournament last season and ran their way to the title with a 3-0 win over Northwood in the final. AU blanked host Purdue Northwest in the tournament opener, 1-0, before overcoming a 2-0 deficit to beat Parkside, 3-2, in overtime in the semifinal.
Ashland, which was 8-10-2 overall, went 6-2-2 in its final six games, including a 4-3 overtime defeat to Saginaw Valley in the NCAA Tournament opener in Evansville, Ind. The Eagles trailed in the game, 3-1, but tied it in the 83rd minute to send it to overtime.
The 2019 season will mark the fourth since the program's return from a three-year hiatus. The Eagles are coached by Oliver Slawson.
Ashland brings back almost the entirety of the squad that won the conference title and gained valuable postseason experience. Junior Justin Libertowski scored nine goals in his last 11 games, leading the GLIAC with 13 goals on the season – the fifth-most in program history.
Junior center back Fred Francis and senior central midfielder John Duldner earned All-GLIAC second team honors and will return to shore up the defense. All-GLIAC honorable mention selection, senior Jordan Dees also returns in the midfield.
The Eagles scored 22 goals in their last 10 games of 2018 and will look to build off their five clean sheets from a season ago.
Parkside was picked to win the GLIAC with Saginaw Valley second and Northwood third.
The full GLIAC poll follows.
|School (First-Place Votes)||Points|
|1. Parkside (2)||41|
|2. Saginaw Valley (4)||40|
|4. Ashland (1)||32|
|5. Davenport (1)||25|
|6. Purdue Northwest||22|
|7. Northern Michigan||21|
|8. Upper Iowa||8|