The University of Wisconsin-Superior men's soccer team had an unprecedented season for the program, winning the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference regular season title in unbeaten fashion before becoming the first conference program to win an NCAA postseason tournament game in the opening round of regionals.
With a ton of talent returning for the Yellowjackets, the conference coaches unanimously selected them first with 64 points and eight first-place votes in the 2019 UMAC Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll.
St. Scholastica was a unanimous second garnering 57 points and one first-place nod.
UWS lost its first two games in 2018 before going on a 20-game unbeaten streak with its first loss coming in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The Yellowjackets look to keep rolling into 2019 as they return 67 percent of their scoring offense and the 2018 UMAC Defensive Player of the Year in A.J. Olson (Channhassen, Minn.). He anchored a UMAC-leading defense that allowed 1.22 goals per game and 0.75 goals per game in conference play.
Also back is senior James Bruce (Gladstone, Mich.), who was a United Soccer Coaches All-Region pick, along with being an all-UMAC first-team selection and UMAC Tournament MVP last season. He led the team with 16 goals, five assists for 37 points, ranking 21st nationally in goals and 30th in points.
The 'Jackets also return two-time all-UMAC honoree senior Eric Watson (Thunder Bay) (four goals, eight assists) and 2018 UMAC Freshman of the Year Blake Perry (Anoka, Minn). The sophomore also earned a spot on the all-UMAC second team after scoring 10 goals and three assists in his first collegiate campaign.
In all, UWS brings back 21 players with collegiate playing experience and welcomes 11 newcomers.
The 'Jackets open the regular season this weekend with a pair of matches in Texas. They play in Austin at 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30, and in Irving at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1.
‘JACKET JOTTINGS: UWS coach Joe Mooney begins his 12th season at UWS having compiled a record of 134-76-18, making him the all-time leader in wins in UWS men's soccer history. … After defeating Crown, 6-2, and St. Scholastica, 3-1, in the UMAC playoffs, UWS defeated Augsburg 2-1 in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but then lost to St. Thomas, 5-0.