Seeking a return to the postseason, The University of Scranton men's soccer team was picked fourth in the Landmark Conference preseason poll as announced by the conference office on Tuesday morning.
Scranton went 6-8-2 (4-3 Landmark) a year ago and fell short of the fourth and final playoff spot on the final day of the regular season due to a tiebreaker.
The Royals received 38 points to finish fourth in the poll. Three different teams received first places votes including Catholic who topped the poll with 64 points and four first place tallies, Drew placed second with 60 points and two first place votes and defending champion Elizabethtown notched 46 points and the final first place vote. The remainder of the poll was comprised of Moravian (25 points), Susquehanna (17), Goucher (15) and Juniata (7).
Head coach Matt Pivirotto enters his 21st year as the head coach of the Royals and brings back 25 players from a season ago including a pair of all-conference selections as seniors Jon Roberts (Whitehouse Station, N.J. / Immaculata-Somerville) and Patrick Prinner (Wilton, Conn. / Wilton) both earned All-Landmark Conference First Team honors. Pivirotto will also add seven newcomers to the roster.
Roberts tied for the team lead with four goals and led the way with six assists in 2018. He will be joined offensively by senior Justin Hammert (Archbald, Pa. / Scranton Prep) who added four goals and two assists, while three other players that scored at least two goals return.
Prinner highlights a backline that held opponents to 1.16 goals per game last season and registered five shutouts. Blake Hammert (Archbald, Pa. / Scranton Prep) and Jake Hodlofski (West Chester, Pa. / Malvern Prep) shared time in net last year for the Royals with Hammert making 38 saves and Hodlofski collecting three shutouts on the year.
Scranton opens the season on Saturday, Aug. 31 at King's (Pa.) at 3 p.m. and will open the home portion of the schedule on Wednesday, Sept. 4 when Marywood comes to Weiss Field for a 7 p.m. tilt. Landmark Conference play begins on Saturday, Sept. 28 with a home match versus Catholic at 1 p.m.
Click here to view the entire Landmark Conference preseason poll.