NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The Saint Joseph's men's soccer squad has been picked to finish eighth in the Atlantic 10 in the 2019 A-10 Men's Soccer Preseason Poll, released by the league on Thursday afternoon. Additionally, senior forward Leon Maric and junior midfielder Ritchie Barry were voted onto the Preseason All-Conference Team in voting conducted among the league's head coaches.
Saint Joseph's went 8-7-3 overall and 2-3-3 in conference play last year to tie for an eighth-place regular-season finish in league action.
Maric led all A-10 performers in goals (12) in 2018, including six in league play. In SJU's third A-10 match of the season, Maric scored the overtime, match-winning goal to upset then-#21 Fordham (98') and never looked back, scoring in four of the Hawks' next five conference matches against Davidson (59'), St. Bonaventure (2', 69'), then-#25 Rhode Island (76'), and Saint Louis (50'). Maric also dished out an assist at George Mason (21') to register at least one point in six of eight total league matches.
Making all 18 starts as SJU's first option up top, the transfer out of the University of Virginia made an immediate impact for the Crimson and Gray in his first season on Hawk Hill, leading the Hawks in goals (12), points (25), match-winning goals (4), and penalty-kick goals (2). Maric became the first Hawk to score 12 goals in a season since Ryan Dougherty scored 12 in 1994 and finished the season tied for fifth, with Dougherty, in SJU's single-season records for goals.
Maric was also selected to the 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Men's All-Southeast Region Third Team and was named the 2018 Philadelphia Soccer Six Player of the Year.
Making all 18 starts in SJU's midfield, Barry ranked second on the squad in both goals (9) and assists (5) and third in points (23). He led the Hawks with 22 shots on goal on a team-high 46 total shots.
In A-10 play, Barry scored four goals and dished out three assists, which included a three-point performance (2g, 1a) against George Mason and two-point performance (1g, 1a) against Saint Louis, the latter of which helped SJU cap an undefeated home season on Hawk Hill. Barry also scored against Duquesne (12') and added an assist against La Salle (30').
Notably, outside of conference play, Barry added a brace against Drexel (15', 74') and scored the insurance goal against Navy (50') to help lead the Hawks to their first win over the Midshipmen in program history. Barry also scored against Sacred Heart (70') and VMI (56').
In the coaches’ poll, VCU earned eight first-place votes (159 points), followed by Saint Louis (146 points, two first-place votes) and Rhode Island (142 points, three first-place votes). Dayton (121 points), Fordham (109 points), Davidson (102 points), George Mason (93 points), and Saint Joseph's (78 points) rounded out the top eight while UMass (63 points), Duquesne (57 points), George Washington (55 points), St. Bonaventure (42 points), and LaSalle (16 points) rounded out the poll.
Saint Joseph’s opens the 2019 season at home on Friday, August 30 vs. St. Peter's at 7:30 p.m.