West Babylon, N.Y. - The LIU Post men's soccer team will kick off their 2017 season as prohibitive favorites to capture a third straight East Coast Conference Championship after unanimously being selected to the No. 1 spot in the league's preseason coaches' poll. The coaches also selected Charlie Ledula (London, England) of LIU Post and Raul Bonilla (Brentwood, N.Y.) of Molloy as the ECC Preseason Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year honorees.
LIU Post received all 10 first place votes to top the poll with 100 points. The Pioneers continued their run of success in 2016, winning their second straight ECC title and their fourth in five years. LIU Post, who ascended to the No. 1 ranking in all of Division II last season, also starts the 2017 campaign ranked No. 7 in the United Soccer Coaches (formerly NSCAA) Top 25 poll.
The No. 2 spot in the poll was tightly contested with NYIT narrowly finishing as runner-up with 84 points. Molloy, who advanced to the final of the ECC Championship a year ago, finished one point behind NYIT to come in at No. 3.
Ledula, the reigning ECC Offensive Player of the Year, led the league with 18 goals and 42 points on the season. His goal and goals per game (0.9) totals ranked 10th in all of Division II. In addition, he ranked No. 3 in the nation with eight game winning goals. Ledula's standout season earned him numerous honors. On top of the conference's Offensive Player of the Year honor, he was named the Division II Conference Commissioners Association (DIICCA) East Region Player of the Year and earned a spot on the DIICCA and NSCAA All-America lists as a Second Team selection.
Bonilla is the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year after earning the conference's Goalkeeper of the Year honor in 2016. In his first season in a Molloy uniform, Bonilla led the ECC and ranked in the top-25 in Division II with an .802 save percentage. He also finished second in the conference with 65 saves, a 0.99 goals against average, and seven shutouts.
2017 ECC Men's Soccer Preseason Poll
|1. LIU Post (10)||100||18-1-1 (8-0-1 ECC|
|2. NYIT||84||10-4-4 (5-2-2 ECC)|
|3. Molloy||83||11-5-1 (7-2-0 ECC)|
|4. St. Thomas Aquinas||58||8-5-5 (7-2-0 ECC)|
|5. Mercy||57||9-4-3 (3-4-2 ECC)|
|6. Dist. Columbia||54||5-11-1 (4-4-1 ECC)|
|7. Queens||40||6-7-4 (3-4-2 ECC)|
|8. Bridgeport||34||3-11-2 (3-4-2 ECC)|
|9. Roberts Wesleyan||26||4-11-1 (2-7-0 ECC)|
|10. Daemen||14||2-15-0 (0-9-0 ECC)|