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Somerset, NJ – After taking home their third Northeast Conference (NEC) Men’s Golf title in four years last spring, Sacred Heart topped the league’s preseason coaches’ poll. The Pioneers totaled six first-place votes, while Central Connecticut was pegged second with two top nods. Saint Francis (PA), which garnered one first-place vote, landed in third, followed by Robert Morris who also received a first place tally. Claiming the fifth spot was LIU Brooklyn, trailed by Monmouth in sixth. Mount St. Mary’s came in at seventh while Fairleigh Dickinson placed eighth. Rounding out the ten-team field was Wagner in ninth and St. Francis (NY) in tenth.
With 2011 NEC Coach of the Year Matt McGreevy at the helm for Sacred Heart
is poised to defend its crown. After finishing just two strokes shy of the individual title (76-69-72 = 217) at the 2011 NEC Championship, senior Joseph Serrantino (Cromwell, CT/Xavier) is hungry heading into 2012. The Connecticut native had a strong fall season; earning NEC Golfer of the Month honors in October following two top-10 finishes. Classmate Joshua Salah (Gloucester, MA/Gloucester) also took home NEC Golfer of the Month accolades this past fall after finishing tied for the top spot at two different invitationals. As a junior, Salah was named to the NEC All-Conference second team after he notched two fourth-place finishes late in the 2011 season. Adding to the strength of the Pioneer lineup will be second team All-Conference honoree Leo Garcia (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico/Colegio Marista), who saved his best performance for last in 2011, posting season-low numbers at the NEC Championship where he finished in a tie for fourth (73-69-78 = 220).
2012 Northeast Conference
Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Sacred Heart (6)
2. Central Connecticut (2)
3. Saint Francis (PA) (1)
4. Robert Morris (1)
5. LIU Brooklyn
7. Mount St. Mary's
8. Fairleigh Dickinson
10. St. Francis (NY)
First place votes in parentheses
Central Connecticut and head coach Kevin Giancola will look to make a run at this year’s championship on the wings of 2011 NEC Rookie of the Year Daniel Morgan (Mullumbimby, Australia/Mullumbimby). The sophomore turned in progressive scorecards throughout his rookie season, posting top-10 finishes in two spring invitationals. The Aussie capped of his freshman season by earning a top-20 finish at the NEC Championship where he placed 16th.
Morgan will be flanked by senior Kevin Josephson (Berlin, CT/Rhode Island) who earned second team All-Conference accolades in 2011. The Connecticut product earned three NEC Golfer of the Week nods throughout the 2011 season, two of which honored his first-place finishes at the Blue Devil Invitational and Macdonald Cup, respectively. Josephson’s scores at the Macdonald Cup (67-69= 136) represented the lowest 18-hole score of any league golfer throughout the season.
Two years removed from their last NEC title, Saint Francis (PA) and head coach Nick Wheeler will look to reclaim NEC supremacy in 2012. An all-NEC performer as a sophomore in 2010, Vincent Adams (Boisbriand, Quebec/John Abbot College) will be a senior leader for the Red Flash. The Canadian put up his best marks late in the 2011 season, finishing first in a dual meet against Penn State Altoona. Classmate Jeremy Foran (London, Ontario/Fanshawe College) who averaged a 77.7 in 2011will add experience to the mix.
After losing NEC Golfer of the Year C.G. Mercatoris to graduation Robert Morris and long time head coach Jerry Stone will rely on junior Brock Pompeani (Aliquippa, PA/Hopewell), lead the team in 2012. The Pennsylvania native, who carded a 76.0 average in 2011, finished tied for sixth at the NEC Championship (73-72-76) and placed first at the FDU Knights Invitational. He followed up his performance at FDU by shooting a season-low 71 on day one of the Lonnie Barton Invitational where he finished second overall.
Junior Jamie Young (Barrie, Ontario/Eastview Secondary) and freshman Obe Ayton (Liphook, England/Godalming College) will lead the charge for LIU Brooklyn and coach Michael Michaelides. After finishing in a tie for 13th at last year’s NEC Championship, Young will bring experience to the table while Ayton burst onto the scene this fall, finishing first on the team in three of the four events the Blackbirds competed in.
Monmouth will work towards the podium this spring with the help of junior Ian Thimble (Hyde Park, MA/Boston College HS),who averaged a 75.9 in 2011. Thimble posted a season-low score of 69 on the second day of the Spring Break Collegiate Invitational; where he went on to place first out of 41 competitors. Head coach Dennis Shea also welcomes back sophomore Corey Carrick (Howell, NY/Howell),who finished his freshman campaign on a high note, as he landed in a tie for 18th at the NEC Championship.
Returning two top-20 finishers from the 2011 NEC Tournament, Mount St. Mary’s will look to take big strides in 2012 under fourth-year Head Coach Kevin Farrell.Expected to pick up where he left of as a freshman, Devin O’Grady (Lancaster, PA/Manheim Township) will look to improve upon his ninth place finish at the NEC Championship where he recorded a three-round score of 222 (73-72-77). While senior Danny Michalek (Mount Airy, MD/Mount St. Joseph) brings experience as the lone senior on a young roster.
Last year’s sixth place finisher, Fairleigh Dickinson, embarks on the 2012 season under the tutelage of Head Coach Rob Warren. The Knights will look to top last year’s showing with help from junior Eduardo Escobar (Manizales, Colombia/San Luis Gonzaga), who earned a share of 18th place at the conference tournament. Senior Keith Downey (Kings Park, NY/Kings Park),will also be a factor after a solid fall for the Knights.
The Wagner men’s golf team and coach Christopher Fourman will look to ascend the conference ladder in 2012. The Seahawks will rely on the senior leadership of Steve Nakajima (Delta, British Columbia/Delta Secondary School),who finished first on the team at the NEC Championship and sports the best average among the squads returners.
Third year coach Jeff Clarke and the Terriers of St. Francis (NY) welcome back upperclassmen Adam User (Rego Park, NY/Archbishop Molloy) and David Smith (Chesapeake, VA/Hickory) who traded first and second place team finishes during the Terrier’s fall season.
The 2011 NEC Men's Golf Tournament will be held at the LPGA International Golf Course from May 4-6. Team scores will be achieved by adding the team's four lowest scores from each day. The top-10 finishers will be designated All-Tournament performers.