Maryland men’s soccer will start the season as the No. 6 team in the United Soccer Coaches (formerly the NSCAA) poll, which was released Friday.
Expectations are once again high in College Park, as Sasho Cirovski’s squad is the highest ranked team in the Big Ten, with Indiana coming in just behind at No. 7. The only other team ranked in the Big Ten is Michigan State, which comes in at No. 22.
The Terps will also take on No. 19 Coastal Carolina, No. 21 UCLA and No. 24 Connecticut during the regular season. Two-time defending national champion Stanford opens the season atop the polls.
Maryland is coming off an 18-1-2 season in which it won the Big Ten regular season title and its fifth straight conference tournament championship. The Terps were the No. 1 team in the nation heading into the NCAA tournament, but suffered a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to Providence at home in the first round.
In 2017, Maryland should have one of the best offenses in the nation again, as Hermann semifinalist Gordon Wild and All-Big Ten midfielder Amar Sejdic both return. But there are more questions on defense, where Maryland will need to find replacements for First Team All-American Alex Crognale, Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year Cody Niedermeier, All-Big Ten first team defender Chris Odoi-Atsem and All-Big Ten second team defender Suli Dainkeh. The Terps' defense was inconsistent last season, pitching five straight shutouts in the middle of the season before allowing goals in the team’s last nine games.
Maryland opens up its season Aug. 25 when it travels to California to take on Santa Clara.