Pacers Tabbed to Finish Eighth in Preseason PBC Coaches Poll

Pacers Tabbed to Finish Eighth in Preseason PBC Coaches Poll

AUGUSTA, Ga. – The University of South Carolina Aiken men’s soccer team was chosen to finish eighth in the Peach Belt Conference in the preseason coaches poll.

For only the second time in PBC history, two men’s soccer teams stood atop the coaches preseason poll as both Francis Marion and Lander were tied for the league lead in the poll released on Thursday, Aug. 13. Francis Marion received four first-place votes on its eight ballots for 56 points while Lander was ranked either first or second on seven of their eight ballots, also for 56 points. This marks the first time since the inaugural season of 1992 that two teams have stood atop the preseason poll. 

Clayton State finished third in the 2009 preseason poll while newcomer Montevallo was fourth and UNC Pembroke fifth. North Georgia was tabbed to finish sixth, Flagler was selected seventh, while Georgia Southwestern was chosen to finish one spot lower than the Pacers in ninth.

The PBC will have a new look for the 2009 season with the addition of new members Flagler College and the University of Montevallo. Flagler played as a DII independent last season with an 11-5-2 overall record. Montevallo was undefeated in Gulf South Conference play last year with a 6-0 record, reaching the GSC Tournament championship match and advancing to the NCAA Division II Tournament.

USC Aiken 14th-year head coach Ike Ofoje has high expectations for his 2009 Pacer squad.

“I feel that we underachieved a little last year,” remarked Ofoje. “I am hoping that this year will be a little different and be our year. We have the pieces in place and right now everyone has the right mindset and is buying into our system.”

USC Aiken concluded the 2008 regular season with a 5-11-1 record. Last year’s squad upset second-seeded Clayton State in the PBC Tournament quarterfinals to advance to the PBC Tournament semifinals where they eventually bowed out to Lander.

USC Aiken begins their 2009 campaign at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29 in Mount Olive, N.C. against Conference Carolinas foe Mount Olive. The Pacers will be looking to extend their two-match winning streak over the Trojans. USC Aiken overall owns an 8-2-1 overall record over the Trojans.

The Pacers will play their first home match of the 2009 season and begin a four-game homestand in their next outing against Sunshine State power Lynn at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4. Lynn, who concluded last season ranked eighth in NCAA Division II, is a national powerhouse that is coached by John Rootes, who mentored Ofoje in college at Southern New Hampshire University. The two led the Penmen to the NCAA Division II National Championship in 1989. 

t1. Francis Marion 
t1. Lander 
3. Clayton State 
4. Montevallo 
5. UNC Pembroke 
6. North Georgia 
7. Flagler 
8. USC Aiken 
9. Georgia Southwestern 

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