NEC Preseason Polls for the fall season were unveiled last week, with the Terriers receiving first place votes from all eight other coaches.
“It’s great to be recognized by the rest of the coaches in the conference,” said head coach Tom Giovatto, who has led the Terriers since 2007. “A lot of credit goes to the guys in the past, because being voted number one in the preseason is all about what you did in the past.
“Our first goal is to make it to the NEC Tournament and then we go from there,” he added. “We have a lot of work to do before we even think about getting to the postseason.”
The Terriers went 14-5-1 (6-0-1 NEC) last season and are 12-0-1 in conference play since the 2016 season began, with their last loss in conference play coming on November 8, 2015.
Of their crop of returnees, the two standouts are 2017 NEC Tournament MVP Ali Tounkara and defenseman Marco Torriani, who is also the team captain. Tounkara had eight goals (four game-winners) and 18 total points last season.
“At the end of the year, Ali was outstanding for us,” said Giovatto. “He was scoring some big goals in the semifinals and championship. He’s a key player for us, we need to make sure he starts this year the way he finished last.”
The Terriers have made it to the NCAA tournament four times since 2013, each as a result of winning the conference championship. They have yet to make it out of the opening round, though, coming closest last time out, when they lost to Fordham University in overtime.
Rival school LIU Brooklyn, who lost to the Terriers 5-0 in last year’s NEC Championship game, came in second in the nine-team preseason poll.