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August 24, 2011

Clayton State Chosen as Men’s Soccer Preseason Favorite

AUGUSTA, GA – The Clayton State Lakers have been chosen as the preseason team to beat in the Peach Belt Conference as the league announced the preseason coaches poll on Wednesday.  The Lakers received six of a possible eight first-place votes for 60 total points, putting them four ahead of Flagler, who is second in the poll.  Montevallo is third with Lander in fourth and North Georgia fifth.  UNC Pembroke, Francis Marion, USC Aiken and Georgia Southwestern round out the voting.

Clayton State earns the top spot in the preseason poll for the second time in the last four years and are coming off of their most successful season to date after reaching the NCAA Elite Eight a year ago and claiming a share of the PBC regular-season title.  With a 19-4 overall record in 2010, Clayton State begins the 2011 season as the #5-ranked team in the nation in the NSCAA preseason national poll.  Seven starters are back for this season including 2010 PBC Player of the Year and All-American forward Ryan Pugh, first-team All-Conference forward Matty Phillips and second-team All-Conference goalkeeper Brian Garcia.

In their first two seasons in the Peach Belt, the Flagler Saints won the 2009 regular-season title, have played in the PBC Tournament final twice and made the NCAA postseason tournament twice.  The Saints begin 2011 ranked #22 in the nation after finishing last season with a 14-5-1 overall record and 6-2 mark in the PBC.  Flagler placed four players on the PBC preseason All-Conference team, more than any other league school, including senior All-American midfielder Johan Bergfeld, who is one of eight starters returning for 2011.  Will Frandsen, Mack Hough and Kevin Keenan were also placed on the PBC preseason team.

Montevallo won their first PBC Tournament title in 2010, defeating Flagler 2-1 in the final.  The Falcons are ranked #19 in the NSCAA preseason top 25 after finishing last season with an 18-2-2 record and serving as host of the NCAA southeast regionals.  The Falcons return a solid core of starters including midfielder Phil Jackson and defender Gary O’Neill, both of whom were placed on the preseason All-Conference team.  Also returning is second-team All-Conference goalkeeper Brendan Ledgeway.

The 2011 season begins on Sept. 1 and goes through to the PBC Tournament which begins with quarterfinal matches on campus Nov. 1 before the final four return to Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Ga., Nov. 4 and 6.

The full coaches’ poll is below.  Teams were given eight points for a first-place vote, seven for a second and so on.  Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.

Team

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

Total

1. Clayton State 6 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 60
2. Flagler 0 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 56
3. Montevallo 2 0 5 0 0 1 0 0 49
4. Lander 1 0 0 6 1 0 0 0 42
5. North Georgia 0 1 1 1 2 3 0 0 35
6. UNC Pembroke 0 0 1 2 3 2 0 0 34
7. Francis Marion 0 0 0 0 3 2 3 0 24
8. USC Aiken 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 3 14
9. Georgia Southwestern 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 10