Edison, N.J. - The men's soccer programs at Canisius College and Niagara University have had their best start in school history, and both teams have added one more accolade to their list. For the first time, both programs have move into the top two spots in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America's (NSCAA)/North Atlantic Poll.
Niagara has spent five straight weeks on the NSCAA/North Atlantic poll, steadily making their way from the number five spot in week one to the top spot in the most recent poll released on Tuesday, September 25. This is the first time the Purple Eagles have been ranked number one in the Regional Poll in the program's history. This marks the third time in school history that Niagara has appeared in the polls, with the first coming in September 2005.
Sophomore forward Callum Willmott leads the Purple Eagles offensively with five goals and one assist, while senior Brian DaCruz has added three goals and four assists to help the Purple Eagles to their first-ever number one ranking.
Canisius jumped out to the best start in the school's history (5-0-2). They are currently ranked second in the NSCAA/North Atlantic Poll. Prior to this season, the Golden Griffins have never been regionally ranked at any time. Canisius was ranked ninth in the poll after the first week this year and now currently sit in second place. Their seven-game unbeaten streak is also the longest, topping the previous record of five straight games in 1987.
"This is an exciting time for the men's college soccer in Western New York," Canisius Director of Athletics Bill Maher said. "Canisius in enjoying one of its best seasons in school history, and that is a credit to our head coach Dermot McGrane, his staff and the exceptional play of our student-athletes. In less than two years at Canisius, Dermot has elevated the play of our program, and we are excited about the future. Coupled with Niagara's strong start to the season, our regular season game on October 13 is sure to add another chapter in the long-time rivalry between the two schools."
A key piece of the Canisius' second-place ranking is senior forward Gavin Falconer. Falconer is a two-time MAAC Offensive Player of the Week winner this season. He leads the conference in points (17), points per game (1.75), goals (7), assists (3) and game-winning tallies (2).