Pitt voted preseason ACC Men’s Soccer favorite
Pitt has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2021 ACC Men’s Soccer Championship following a vote of the league’s head coaches. The Panthers were voted the ACC favorite by seven of the 12 head coaches, while Clemson earned three votes and North Carolina two.
After making its first trip to the NCAA College Cup last season, Pitt returns 10 starters and 20 players from its 2020-21 squad that finished 16-4 overall and 9-1 in ACC matches. Among the returnees is junior midfielder Valentin Noel, who was named the 2020 ACC Offensive Player of the Year and was one of three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, which is presented to the top player in college soccer.
Pitt also was voted the preseason favorite in the Coastal Division, finishing with nine first-place votes and 64 total points. After joining Pitt in the NCAA College Cup last season, North Carolina finished second in the preseason Coastal Division voting after claiming three first-place votes and 58 points. Virginia Tech (40), Virginia (32), Duke (28) and Notre Dame (24) were picked third through sixth, respectively.
Reigning ACC champion Clemson was named the preseason favorite in the Atlantic Division after garnering nine first-place votes and totaling 64 points. After earning two first-place votes and 57 points, Wake Forest was second, while Louisville was third with 38 points and Boston College was fourth after securing one first-place vote and 36 points. NC State (27) and Syracuse (24) rounded out the division.
ACC men’s soccer returns to its traditional league format this season, with each team playing eight conference matches. Each squad will play its five division foes as well as three sides from the other division.
The ACC topped all leagues with five men’s soccer programs among the United Soccer Coaches Preseason Top 25. Four ACC teams are ranked in the top 10 in the poll, while five are among the top 15: Pitt (3), North Carolina (4), Clemson (6), Wake Forest (7) and Virginia Tech (15).
The 2021 ACC men’s soccer fall season officially gets underway on Thursday, Aug. 26, with nine teams in action. Conference play opens Friday, Sept. 12. The 2021 ACC Men’s Soccer Championship features all 12 league teams and is capped by the championship game on Sunday, Nov. 21, at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.
2021 ACC Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll
- Pitt, 7 votes
- Clemson, 3
- North Carolina, 2
- Clemson (9), 64
- Wake Forest (2), 57
- Louisville, 38
- Boston College (1), 36
- NC State, 27
- Syracuse, 24
- Pitt (9), 64
- North Carolina (3), 58
- Virginia Tech, 40
- Virginia, 32
- Duke, 28
- Notre Dame, 24
First-place votes in parentheses
2021 ACC Preseason Watch List
- Victor Souza, Jr., D, Boston College
- Oskar Ågren, Jr., D, Clemson
- Peter Stroud, So., M, Duke
- Pedro Fonseca, Sr., F, Louisville
- Alec Smir, Gr., GK, North Carolina
- Leon Krapf, R-Sr., GK, NC State
- Jack Lynn, Sr., F, Notre Dame
- Valentin Noel, Jr., M, Pitt
- Deandre Kerr, So., F, Syracuse
- Andreas Ueland, Jr., D, Virginia
- Sivert Haugli, Sr., D, Virginia Tech
- Kyle Holcomb, Sr., F, Wake Forest