Fresh off a trip to the big dance last spring, expectations around the Omaha men’s soccer program are high coming into this fall. A team that returns all but one starter from last season, the Mavericks were selected as the favorite in the 2021 Summit League preseason poll.
The Mavericks finished second in the Summit League standings last season at 5-2-1. However, Omaha was the Summit League’s representative in the NCAA Tournament as Denver’s season was cut short by COVID-19. It was Omaha’s first tournament appearance since 2017.
Although it holds no merit when it comes to the results on the field, the Mavericks will start on top heading into this season. Omaha received four first place votes and a total of 34 points in the poll. Denver and Oral Roberts tied for second in the poll with 29 points.
In addition to leading the way in the poll, Hugo Kametani and Fitzroy Cummings were also named Summit League Preseason Players to Watch. Along with the Summit League honors, Kametani was one of 44 Division I NCAA players selected to the Men’s Hermann Trophy Watchlist last week. The award recognizes the National Player of the Year.
A senior hailing from Japan, Kametani was the program’s first All-American last season with third team honors from United Soccer Coaches. Kametani led his team and the conference with nine goals and 19 points and tied the Omaha single-season scoring program record.
He was also First Team All-West Region, All-Summit First Team, Summit All-Newcomer Team, and was named the Summit League Newcomer of the Year.
Although his production mostly came on the other end of the pitch, Cummings played a huge role in the Mavericks’ success. The Summit League Defensive Player of the Year last season, Cummings also received First Team and All-Newcomer honors. He started all 11 matches, logged 986 minutes and helped the Mavericks secure four shutouts.
They were two of 13 players recognized by the league’s seven coaches. Kametani, Cummings and the rest of the Mavericks will open the conference portion of their schedule on Oct. 2 against Kansas City at Caniglia Field.