Stonehill Picked Fifth in NE-10 Preseason Poll

Senior safety Anthony Masucci is a co-captain for the Skyhawks this season. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Talley names Masucci & McLeod Skyhawk co-captains for upcoming season  

NE-10 Preseason Coaches' Poll Announcement

EASTON, Mass. (August 21, 2015) – The Stonehill College football team is into its second week of preseason training camp as it nears its Labor Day Weekend season-opener. The Skyhawks have been picked fifth in the Northeast-10 Conference's preseason coaches' poll, announced by the league office today. Head Coach Robert Talley has also announced that seniors Anthony Masucci (East Haven, Connecticut/Notre Dame-West Haven) and Gordon McLeod (Wrentham, Massachusetts/BC High) will serve as co-captains for the upcoming season.

Stonehill is tied for fifth in the NE-10 preseason poll with Saint Anselm College, which the Skyhawks defeated twice last season, with 41 points. Defending NE-10 Champions LIU Post is picked first with less than half of the ten first place votes (four) and 74 points. Reigning NE-10 regular season champions American International College also collected 74 points, but just two first place votes. Assumption College (65 points) is picked third with a pair of first place votes, while the University of New Haven (62) is slated fourth with the remaining two first place votes. Rounding out the preseason poll behind Stonehill and Saint Anselm are Bentley University (38) in seventh, Merrimack College (29) eighth, Southern Connecticut State University (20) ninth and Pace University (10) in tenth spot. 

2015 Northeast-10 Football Preseason Coaches' Poll

1. LIU Post – 74 (4)
2. American International – 74 (2)
3. Assumption – 65 (2)
4. New Haven – 62 (2)
t-5. Stonehill – 41
t-5. Saint Anselm – 41
7. Bentley – 38
8. Merrimack – 29
9. Southern Connecticut – 20
10. Pace – 10

(#) – indicates first-place votes 

Senior Gordon McLeod is also a co-captain this season. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Stonehill returns 69 letterwinners (36 Offense/33 Defense), including 16 starters, from its 2014 season in which the Skyhawks posted a 5-6 record overall, including a 4-5 mark in the Northeast-10. Stonehill capped its season with a 19-11 victory at Saint Anselm on NE-10 Championship Weekend, marking two wins over the Hawks in the final three weeks. The Skyhawks boasted the top defense in the NE-10, leading the Conference in total defense, rushing defense and passing defense, while ranking second in scoring defense. Junior Ryan Doherty (Methuen, Massachusetts/Central Catholic) is Stonehill's top returning tackler after finishing third on the team in 2014 with 73 stops (30 solo) in ten games, including 6.5 tackles for a loss of 48 yards, a team-best 4.5 sacks for a loss of 41, two pass breakups, three quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

Despite inconsistency on offense in 2014, Stonehill does return the NE-10's top rusher in senior preseason All-American Colin Markus (Monroe, Connecticut/Masuk), the Skyhawks lone returning All-Northeast-10 selection of a program record nine last year, who posted 712 yards on 158 carries (4.5 yards/attempt) with five touchdowns. Sophomore Matt Foltz (Mount Joy, Pennsylvania/The Hill School) is expected to be under center after emerging as the starter late last season. He completed 46-of-72 passes for 609 yards (203 yds/gm) and two touchdowns, while adding six more scores on the ground with 121 yards on 36 carries. Foltz averaged 243.3 yards of total offense, posted a 132.99 pass efficiency rating and finished second on the team in scoring with 36 points in just three games played.

McLeod enters his senior season ranked sixth in program history with 1,350 career receiving yards and eighth with ten career touchdown receptions. He started all 11 games in 2014 and posted 395 yards on 32 catches with three scores. McLeod was named to the NE-10 All-Rookie Team as a freshman and has collected NE-10 Commissioner's Honor Roll status each of the last four semesters and Athletic Director's Honor Roll one semester for his efforts in the classroom.

Masucci is a two year starter at safety who has played 31 games over his collegiate career for Stonehill. He has totaled 140 tackles (72 solo), including 6.0 for a loss of 39 yards, with a half sack, four interceptions, two forced fumbles and six pass breakups over his career. Masucci finished fourth on the team in 2014 with 66 stops (36 solo), including 3.5 for a loss of 32 yards, a half sack, an interception and pass breakup. He was named to the Capital One Academic All-District I first team for the first time in 2014 and also collected NE-10 Academic All-Conference honors. He has been named to the NE-10 Commissioner's Honor Roll and Athletic Director's Honor Roll status all six semesters.

Stonehill opens its 2015 season in two weeks when it visits 2014 NCAA Tournament participant Bloomsburg (Pa.) University on Saturday, September 5, at 2 p.m. The Skyhawks open their Northeast-10 schedule the following Friday, September 11, at Merrimack College at 7 p.m., before its home opener on Saturday, September 19, against Pace University at W.B. Mason Stadium on Stonehill Kickoff Weekend when the College will host its fourth NE-10 Presidents' Cup celebration at 6 p.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook.

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