For the first time since the Maryland men’s soccer team joined the Big Ten in 2014, the Terps aren’t the preseason favorites to win the conference. Maryland was projected to finish third in the Big Ten’s preseason coaches poll released Wednesday.
No. 2 Indiana, the 2017 national champion runner-up, was unanimously chosen to win the conference. No. 7 Michigan State is picked second ahead of unranked Maryland, No. 12 Wisconsin and No. 21 Michigan.
The Terps only dropped one regular season conference contest last year — a 2-1 loss at home to Michigan — but that defeat turned a potential first-place finish into the No. 4-seed in the conference tournament. The Terps won their first three Big Ten tournament titles but exited the 2017 tournament with a 2-1 quarterfinal loss to Wisconsin.
The preseason honors list, also released Wednesday, included three players from each Big Ten team. Maryland’s representatives are senior midfielder Amar Sejdic, junior defender Donovan Pines and junior goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair.
Sejdic, who was named to the same list a season ago, has 15 goals and 15 assists in three seasons with Maryland. He’s started 59 of his 60 games and notched career highs with nine goals and nine assists as a sophomore, but his numbers regressed in 2017, when he had only 10 points.
Pines earned Big Ten All-Second Team honors a season ago. He started 14 games during his breakout sophomore campaign and helped Maryland secure eight clean sheets as a center back, including a span of five consecutive games without conceding a goal.
St. Clair played all 1,812 minutes last season. His 0.99 goals allowed per game ranked third among Big Ten goalkeepers. He went 567 minutes without conceding a goal at one point during the season, including shutouts of No. 4 Indiana and No. 6 Michigan State.