AUGUSTA, Ga. – The University of South Carolina Aiken men’s soccer team was picked to finish eighth in the Peach Belt Conference preseason men’s soccer coaches poll.
The preseason poll was released by the Peach Belt Conference office on Wednesday, Aug. 24.
USC Aiken head men’s soccer coach Ike Ofoje feels as if his 2011 team is one that can compete at the highest level.
Ofoje has reason for his optimism as he welcomes back nine starters and 22 letterwinners in total from a 2010 team that advanced to the Peach Belt Conference Tournament.
In addition to the nine starters returning, USC Aiken also welcomes back all-conference performer Troy Watson, who was limited to just three games in 2010 due to injury.
USC Aiken’s men’s soccer team will begin its 2011 regular season in Morrow, Ga. in a tournament on the campus of Clayton State. USC Aiken will have two games in the tournament, beginning with its season opener against Conference Carolinas foe Pfeiffer at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2. USC Aiken will close the event against regional power Anderson at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3.
Just two days after the Clayton State Tournament, USC Aiken will open play at the “Pacer Pit” with the first of a season-high three consecutive home matches. On Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 5, USC Aiken will play host to Palm Beach Atlantic at 6 p.m.
Preseason nationally fifth-ranked Clayton State earned the top spot in the preseason poll for the second time in the last four years. Ranked 22nd in the preseason national tally, Flagler is second in the preseason poll followed by defending Peach Belt Conference Tournament champions Montevallo in third.
The full coaches’ poll is below. Teams were given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine for a second, etc. Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.
2011 Peach Belt Conference Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll
- Clayton State 60
- Flagler 56
- Montevallo 49
- Lander 42
- North Georgia 35
- UNC Pembroke 34
- Francis Marion 24
- USC Aiken 14
- Georgia Southwestern 10