NEWPORT, R.I. - The Salve Regina University football team has been voted to finish second in the Commonwealth Coast Football Conference in a preseason poll conducted by the coaches.
Western New England, winners of three straight league titles (two New England Football Conference (NEFC), one CCC Football), was once again picked to top the conference in the poll.
The Golden Bears earned 48 points in the poll, including six first place votes cast by the league's seven CCC Football head coaches.
WNE took the inaugural CCC Football title in 2017 with a perfect 5-0 season in league play (8-3 overall). The Golden Bears outscored conference opponents 218-82 and advanced to the First Round of the NCAA Division III Football Tournament. However, they would lose to a tough Delaware Valley team that advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Landing in the second spot in the poll was Salve Regina. The Seahawks claimed 36 points and the final first place vote.
Curry and Endicott were right behind Salve as they tied for the No. 3 spot with 35 points.
Last season Curry finished as the league runner-up with its only conference loss coming against the league champions. The Colonels also represented CCC Football in the 2017 New England Bowl Series.
Endicott will be looking to bounce back into the championship conversation under the tutelage of a new head coach.
Nichols (19 points), Becker (15), and the University of New England (8) close out the poll in that order. UNE will be competing as a varsity program for the first time this year after a sub-varsity season a year ago.
2018 CCC Football Pre-season Coaches' Poll
- Western New England 48 (6)
- Salve Regina 36 (1)
- Curry 35
- Endicott 35
- Nichols 19
- Becker 15
- U. of New England 8
Kevin Gilmartin begins his sixth season as head coach of the Seahawks. The team graduated 26 seniors from last season, which presents some challenges, but Gilmartin is confident that his group will respond. "Losing a senior class of that magnitude is going to be difficult, but we will see how the next group steps up," Gilmartin said. "Every year is exciting to see the development of the potential and see how the culture and chemistry of the team grow based on the leadership of the seniors. This year we have a great group of seniors who have brought together the Salve Football Family."
Three of the Seahawks 13 seniors, defensive end Brandon O'Neill (Madison, Conn.), defensive end John Salute (Mahwah, N.J.), and linebacker Tyler D'Errico (Cheshire, Conn.) will serve as captains and each was an All-CCC performer last season. On offense the team will return two All-CCC players from last season, wide receiver Brendan Nunes (Attleboro, Mass.) and tackle Michael Saunders (Westwood, N.J.).
Read the full release from the Commonwealth Coast Conference at http://cccathletics.com/sports/fh/2018-19/releases/2018FHPoll
Salve Regina University
Salve Regina athletics sponsors 20 NCAA Division III varsity sports for men and women. The Seahawks compete in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC - baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, field hockey, football, men's ice hockey, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, women's track and field, women's volleyball), New England Hockey Conference (NEHC - women's ice hockey), New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association (NEISA - sailing). Beginning in 2017-18, Salve Regina will also sponsor equestrian as a varsity sport, and adds junior varsity programs for baseball and men's lacrosse.