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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia men’s soccer team was picked to finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, according to a vote of the league’s nine head coaches which was announced today by the conference office.

Virginia is ranked 11th in the preseason Soccer America rankings, 14th by Top Drawer Soccer and 22nd in the preseason NSCAA poll. UVa kicks off its regular season at 5 p.m. Friday against West Virginia in the ACC/Big East Challenge in Germantown, Md.

North Carolina is the preseason favorite to win the ACC; the Tar Heels received seven first-place votes. Maryland was picked second.

Led by 16th-year head coach George Gelnovatch, Virginia returns eight starters and 18 letterwinners from the 2010 squad, which finished with an 11-6-3 record, including a 2-4-2 mark and sixth-place finish in the ACC. UVa reached the NCAA tournament for the 30th straight year, the longest active streak in the nation.

2010 First-Team All-ACC honoree Brian Ownby highlights the returning group of players, while Brian Span was named to the 2010 ACC All-Freshman Team. The Cavaliers’ leading scorer in 2010, forward Will Bates (8-4-20), also is back in the mix. UVa’s returning core features five players who started in the 2009 national championship game. Virginia also welcomes in a talented group of 12 freshmen this season.

2011 Preseason ACC Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Poll
School, Points

1. North Carolina (7), 78
2. Maryland (1), 66
3. Virginia, 60
4. Wake Forest, 52
5. Duke (1), 48
6. Boston College, 44
7. Clemson, 28
8. NC State, 18
9. Virginia Tech, 11

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