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Pitt men’s soccer ranked No. 1 in ACC coaches poll

After a deep run in the NCAA tournament, much is expected of the Pitt men’s soccer team this fall, and that was reflected in the ACC preseason coaches poll, which was released on Wednesday. In the poll, Pitt was ranked No. 1 in the ACC by conference head coaches. The coaches also voted Pitt the favorite to win the ACC championship.

Pitt was chosen as the favorite in the Coastal Division, receiving nine first-place votes and accruing a total of 64 points. That matched Clemson, the team that topped the Atlantic Division, and put Pitt six points and six first-place votes ahead of North Carolina — the team expected to finish second in the Coastal. No Coastal teams other than Pitt and North Carolina received a first-place vote.

The tie between Pitt and Clemson in points and first-place votes was settled when Pitt was voted the anticipated overall champion of the ACC, with seven votes to Clemson’s three. North Carolina also received two votes from ACC coaches in the overall champion poll.

Last season, Pitt won its first Coastal Division title after going 9-1 in ACC play. The team also played in the ACC title game for the first time in program history but lost to Clemson 2-0.

In the 2020-21 season, the Panthers were led by ACC Coach of the Year Jay Vidovich and featured ACC Offensive Player of the Year Valentin Noel, ACC Defensive Player of the Year Jasper Löeffelsend and ACC Freshman of the Year Bertin Jacquesson, all of whom are set to return in the fall. The ACC coaches expect Noel to be a factor again in 2021, as they placed him on the ACC preseason watch list.

Pitt is also highly regarded beyond the ACC, as it was ranked No. 3 in the country in the preseason United Soccer Coaches poll. The only teams ahead of Pitt in that poll are defending national champion Marshall, which is at No. 1, and runner-up Indiana at No. 2.