Clayton State favored in Peach Belt Conference men’s soccer preseason poll
2011 Peach Belt Conference Men's Soccer Preseason Poll
AUGUSTA, Ga. – August 24, 2011 – Fresh off the best season in program history, the Clayton State Laker men's soccer team has been selected as the favorite in the 2011 Peach Belt Conference preseason poll, which was released on Wednesday.
The Lakers were the preseason favorite for the second time in the last four seasons, garnering 60 points total with six of the nine possible first-place votes. Clayton State is ahead of Flagler, who is second with 56 points, while Montevallo is third with 49 points and two first-place votes and Lander is fourth with 42 points and one first-place vote.
Rounding out the poll was North Georgia (35), UNC Pembroke (34), Francis Marion (24), USC Aiken (14) and Georgia Southwestern (10). The poll was voted on by the Peach Belt Conference men's soccer coaches.
Clayton State, under eighth-year head coach Pete Petersen, is coming off an impressive 19-4 mark last season with the PBC regular season championship and a berth in the NCAA Division II "Elite Eight" for the first time in program history. The Lakers enter the season ranked No. 5 in the nation in the NSCAA Division II preseason Top 25 poll.
Clayton State returns seven starters from last season and an impressive recruiting class of 14 newcomers. The most notable returnees include 2010 Peach Belt Player of the Year and All-American forward Ryan Pugh, Division II All-Region forward Matty Phillips and goalkeeper Brian Garcia and 2010 PBC Freshman of the Year Arturo Cruz.
The Lakers open the 2011 season on Friday, Sept. 2 at home against No. 17 Anderson in the Laker Shootout.