Whelan, Haehre Earn MAAC Preseason Honors

Photos: Liz Flynn

Although the season opener is still over a week away, the Quinnipiac men’s soccer team is already racking up the hardware.

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference released its annual Preseason All-Conference Awards on Wednesday morning, and Bobcats fans will certainly be pleased with the results. Center-forward Eamon Whelan was named the Preseason MAAC Player of the Year and was also named to the Preseason All-MAAC squad. Center back Jeppe Haehre was also named to the Preseason All-MAAC team.

Whelan’s recognition is certainly warranted – the New Fairfield, Connecticut native is coming off of a truly remarkable season that saw him net 13 goals in 18 games, the most out of any player in the MAAC and the tenth-most in the entire nation.

Photos: Liz Flynn

His goals weren’t just plentiful – they were clutch, as well. His 82nd-minute equalizer in the second game of the season ensured Quinnipiac a point in a tough non-conference matchup with UMass Lowell. Then, after a lengthy spell that saw four games go by without Whelan getting on the scoresheet, he struck for overtime winners in back-to-back games against conference opponents Manhattan and Siena.

The following week, he found the net in both the 83rd and 89th minutes to give the Bobcats a critical 2-1 win over a Rider team that had frustrated Quinnipiac for most of the game. Whenever the Bobcats needed an answer, the trusty striker provided one.

Haehre’s inclusion is also well-deserved. The 6’2” defender anchored a back line that allowed just six goals in conference play, tied with Fairfield for the best in the MAAC. Haehre was one of the first names on the team sheet all season for head coach Eric Da Costa, as the Norwegian international started all 19 games for the team and logged over 1,680 minutes, second to only defensive midfielder Dejan Duric.

Photos: Liz Flynn

The defender also provided a bit of an offensive output as well – his three assists were tops among Bobcat defenders, and he was on the receiving end of a brilliant free kick from Romain Daniellou in the conference semifinals that saw the Bobcats go ahead in the late stages of the match.

Entering his senior year with the club, Haehre will not only be a mainstay in the Quinnipiac XI but will also undoubtedly receive consideration for the captain’s armband.

In addition to the individual honors, Quinnipiac also fared well in the Preseason Coaches Poll. The Bobcats slotted in at No. 2, a reasonable position after reaching the conference championship game a season ago. Sitting atop them is Fairfield, with defending champions Rider coming in at third.

After Rider, there is a significant dropoff in points, with Marist and Manhattan finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Iona stands alone in sixth, and Saint Peter’s, Monmouth, Canisius, Siena and Niagara round out the ranking.

Quinnipiac is also one of three teams with two Preseason All-MAAC selections, along with Marist and Manhattan. Fairfield is the only school with three players on the honorary roster, while both Saint Peter’s and Rider earned one spot in the XI.

With a large freshman crop entering the fold for Quinnipiac this year, it will undoubtedly require a full team effort for the group to fulfill its complete potential. With two Preseason All-MAAC players set to embark on their senior seasons, the squad is certainly headed in the right direction.