AUGUSTA, Ga. – The Peach Belt Conference office released the 2012 men's soccer preseason coaches poll Wednesday afternoon with the North Georgia College & State Saints tabbed seventh.
Flagler College was chosen as the preseason favorite to claim the crown with Clayton State and the University of Montevallo in a tie for second place as far as points go, but Clayton State's five second-place votes gave them the nod over Montevallo's two.
The Saints, who open their regular-season on Friday, August 31 at the Clayton State Laker Shootout, received a fourth-place vote, three fifth-place votes, three sixth-place votes and two seventh-place nominations to finish with 39 total points.
Last season, the North Georgia men finished the season with a first-round loss in the PBC tournament to Clayton State to end with a 9-7-1 record that included winning three of their final five contests. The Saints went 5-3 in their league slate to finish fourth, just one point behind third-place Lander.
Head coach Pat Parris, entering his sixth season at the helm of the program, is hoping to continue to build on the late-season success from 2011. Parris returns 17 total letterwinners, including eight starters, and brings in 10 freshmen to the fold.
The PBC will feature 10 programs participating in men's soccer in 2012, the most in conference history, as Young Harris joins the league.
The rest of the preseason coaches poll saw Lander chosen fourth and UNC Pembroke fifth. Young Harris (sixth), North Georgia, USC Aiken (eighth), Francis Marion (ninth) and Georgia Southwestern (10th) rounded out the voting.
Teams were given 11 points for a first-place vote, 10 for a second and so forth. Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.
2012 PBC Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Flagler 121 pts.
2. Clayton State 110 pts.
3. Montevallo 99 pts.
4. Lander 80 pts.
5. UNC Pembroke 78 pts.
6. Young Harris 73 pts.
7. North Georgia 58 pts.
8. USC Aiken 57 pts.
9. Francis Marion 44 pts.
10. Georgia Southwestern 38 pts.