CHARLOTTE - The UNC Asheville men's soccer team is a preseason pick to finish in ninth place according to the Big South Conference's coaches. The preseason poll along with the league's Preseason Attacking Player of the Year and Preseason Defensive Player of the Year were announced on Monday by the Big South Conference.
Coastal Carolina, which looks to win its second Big South Championship in three years, was a unanimous selection as it collected all 11 first-place votes and 121 points, ahead of High Point (99). The Chanticleers were the 2011 Big South Regular-Season Champions and earned an at-large selection to the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship. In the NCAA Tournament, Coastal Carolina downed Elon before falling to eventual National Champion North Carolina in the second round. The Chanticleers finished last season unscathed in the Big South with a 9-0-0 record and an 18-4 overall mark.
Campbell came in at the No. 3 position with 94 points, followed by Liberty at No. 4 with 88 points. Gardner-Webb landed at No. 5 with 70 points and in at No. 6 was Radford with 68 points. Winthrop garnered 50 points to finish in the seventh slot and Big South newcomer Longwood found itself at No. 8 with 48 points. UNC Asheville's 39 points were good for No. 9, while Presbyterian College finished 10th in the voting with 25 points. VMI rounded out the list with 24 points.
"We obviously hope to finish a little higher than in ninth place this year," declared Bulldog coach Matt Kern. "However, our league is very good from top to bottom. Every game will be a battle, and we hope to win our share of battles this season."
The Bulldogs play two exhibition matches this week to prepare for the 2012 season. Asheville plays at Southern Conference champion Elon on Wednesday (Aug. 15) and then hosts Davidson this Saturday (Aug. 18) at Greenwood Field starting at 2 p.m.
Kern's club opens the regular season at home on Saturday, Aug. 25 vs. Brevard College at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs begin Big South Conference play at High Point on Sept. 22.