FREELAND, MICH. -- The Trine University men's soccer team has been picked to finish fourth in the 2019 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Preseason Coaches Poll.
Trine finished with 23 points to rank fourth of eight teams in this year's poll. Calvin (Mich.) College was selected as the favorite with seven points and seven first-place votes. Hope (Mich.) College was second with 17 points and Adrian (Mich.) College was picked third with 20 points and had one first place vote.
The preseason poll for MIAA men's soccer awards one point for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote, etc. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own programs.
The Thunder are coming off of a successful season in 2018 that saw the team post a 13-3-2 record and advance to the second round of the MIAA Tournament. Trine's 13 victories were the most since the 2011 season when the Thunder also won 13 games and finished 13-5-2 overall.
Trine returns one All-MIAA player from last year as a first-team selection in Noah Aljabaly (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) who was also named the conference "Newcomer of the Year." Aljabaly led the team, and finished second in the MIAA, in goals with 19. His 19 goals also ranked in a tie for third most in Trine history in a single season. He also led the team, and was second in the MIAA, in overall points with 43 (19 goals and five assists). He had six multi-goal games, including a season-high three goals in a 5-0 shutout against Olivet where he finished with seven total points (three goals and one assist). Aljabaly took a team-high 77 shots for a .260 shot percentage with 49 shots on goal. Three of his goals came on penalty kicks (three-of-three overall) and he tallied seven game-winning scores. His seven game-winners put him in a tie for fourth in the NCAA.
Also highlighting the list of returning players will be goalkeeper Taylor Medina (Mill Creek, Ind./Rochester). Medina started all 17 games last season and finished second in the league in goals against average at 0.91. He tallied 46 saves on the year and had a .754 save percentage with seven shutout victories.
Also back will be Ryan Craig (Carmel, Ind./Roncalli) and Brian Morris (Metamora, Mich./Lapeer). Craig was part of a defense that allowed just 1.04 goals per game and also got involved offensively with one assist. Morris finished fourth on the team in points with 11 (four goals and three assists). His four goals ranked fifth on the team and his three helpers were the third most on the team. One of his goals scored last season was also a game-winner.
Trine will begin the 2019 season when it travels to Richmond, Ind. to take on Earlham College on Friday, Aug. 30. The game is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
2019 MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll
|Place||School (First-Place Votes)||Points|