PROVIDENCE, RI – With a magical run to the GNAC finals cut short by the fifth ranked team in the country, the Johnson & Wales University men's soccer team will look to get back to the conference deciding match in 2019. Dave Kulik's club, armed with significant talent and incoming help start their season on the road against Bridgewater St. on Friday at 5pm.
Johnson & Wales tallied a stout 12-6-3 record in 2018, a year that was marred with injuries to key members of the club in the regular season. The Wildcats were able to put in all together in the playoff run, advancing to the GNAC finals where they dropped a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat at the feet of the 5th ranked Monks from St. Joseph's University (ME). The annual preseason GNAC poll released last week has the Wildcat picked third while garnering one first place vote.
Known for defense, the Wildcats in 2018 were more offensively minded as they finished second in the conference in goals (42) and points (111). It's a good bet that this trend will continue as JWU features some scoring all-conference pop returning to the line up.
Nick Gutekunst, Riley McNicholas, and Braeden Krakosky were named second team all-conference and are all back for the 2019 campaign. Gutekunst scored seven goals in this first year with the Wildcats, while McNicholas amassed ten goals in his junior season. Krakosky was a defensive stalwart in 2019 as the now junior will look to continue to make life difficult for opposing offenses.
This season the Wildcats have seventeen first year players on roster. With the standard challenging out of conference schedule featuring Wheaton, Roger Williams, Plymouth State, and Rhode Island College, as well as the conference opponents, the Wildcats will need to mesh quickly for the playoff run.