By Josh Monsen
BUENA VISTA, Va. — The New Jersey Athletic Conference today announced the 2018 Preseason Coaches' Poll, where Southern Virginia University was picked for a ninth-place finish.
First-year head coach Ed Mulitalo will lead the Knights. He was named head coach in March after serving as the defensive coordinator during the 2017 season.
In the poll, Southern Virginia is picked to finish above William Paterson.
"We were picked to be ninth, that is what we deserve, we went 2-8 last year," said head coach Mulitalo. "We hope to make that a different story this year."
Last season, the Knights two wins came with a 45-23 homecoming victory against non-conference opponent The Apprentice School and a 16-6 NJAC road win over William Paterson.
The Knights return several key returners on both offense and defense. Neil Davis returns on the defensive side after receiving All-NJAC Second Team Defense honors, other key defensive returners will be Skylar Cloward, who was third on the team in both tackles (53) and sacks (2.5) and Josh Christopher who sat out last season due to injury.
Jewka Patetefa received All-NJAC Honorable Mention honors, he will return to the offense, returning also on the offensive side will be Akiva Wedge, he led the team in receiving touchdowns (3) and scoring.
"I anticipate growth this year," Mulitalo said. "We want to make a lot of noise. We are ninth and that was where we were last year. This is our last year in the conference we want to leave by making our mark."
Following this season in the NJAC, Southern Virginia will compete in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC).
1. Wesley (7 first-place votes)
2. Frostburg State (3)
5. Christopher Newport
7. The College of N.J. (dark horse)
8. Montclair State
9. Southern Virginia
10. William Paterson