Bulldogs tabbed to place fourth in AAC play

Published 12:32 pm Tuesday, August 14, 2018

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Union College men’s soccer team is picked to finish fourth in the chase for the 2018 Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) men’s soccer championship, according to the coaches’ poll released Friday.

Union finished 11-8-1 overall, advancing to the championship game in the AAC Tournament.

Receiving seven of 11 first-place votes, Reinhardt collected 116 total voting points, making the Eagles the favorite to capture the 2018 AAC championship. Bryan garnered a first-place vote to come in second with 106 voting points.

Reigning AAC Tournament champions Truett McConnell earned two first-place votes (103 points), followed by Union collecting the final first-place vote (89 points) and Tennessee Wesleyan (81 points) finishing out the top five.

Making up the rest of the field are: St. Andrews (56 points), Bluefield (53 points), Montreat (44 points), Milligan (30 points), Point (29 points), and newcomer Columbia International (19 points).

Union returns four senior starters to the lineup who hope to return the Bulldogs back to the top of the AAC. Out of those seniors, Justin Wilkinson collected three assists and a goal in earning five points before ending his season early with an injury.

Along with Wilkinson, Union returns two strong defenders in Callum McDonald and Craig Ellis, who each tallied a goal and an assist got three points last season. Forward Edwin Garcia looks to continue his success scoring this season as he ended 2017 with three goals and an assist.

Head coach Jonathan Shaw also added 23 new athletes to the roster adding great depth to the squad.

The 2018 AAC Tournament is set to begin with the opening round on Nov. 2 with only the top eight teams advancing to the tournament. The semifinal round is set for Nov. 6 and championship round is slated for Nov. 9. All matches will be played at the highest remaining seed’s home site.

Union opens up its 2018 season hosting Asbury on Aug. 24 in Barbourville.

2018 AAC Preseason Poll

Team – Voting Points (First-Place Votes)

1. Reinhardt – 116 (7)

2. Bryan – 106 (1)

3. Truett McConnell – 103 (2)

4. Union – 89 (1)

5. Tennessee Wesleyan – 81

6. St. Andrews – 56

7. Bluefield – 53

8. Montreat – 44

9. Milligan – 30

10. Point – 29

11. Columbia International – 19