NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Defending national champion Notre Dame is the Atlantic Coast Conference men's soccer preseason favorite, according to a vote of the league's 12 head coaches.
The Irish were named by six coaches as this year's team to beat, followed by Virginia with three first-place votes, North Carolina with two, and Louisville with one.
Notre Dame, with 64 points, was also named by six coaches as the favorite in the Coastal Division, edging out 2013 Men's College Cup participant Virginia, which had four first-place votes and 62 points. North Carolina (53 points) received two nods for the division and was picked third, followed by Duke (37), Virginia Tech (23), and Pitt (13).
League newcomer Louisville was picked as the Atlantic Division favorite, receiving nine of a possible 12 first-place votes while totaling 69 total points. Wake Forest (57 points) and Clemson (50) both collected first-place votes, and are followed in the poll by NC State (30), Boston College (26), and Syracuse (20).
A national-best six ACC squads earned NCAA bids in 2013. Three advanced to the NCAA College Cup, marking the 13th straight year with at least one league team in the semifinals. Notre Dame's championship marked the sixth title by an ACC team in the last nine years and the 16th in league history.
The 2014 season, which gets underway Aug. 29, marks the first for the league under a divisional format. Each team will play every other squad in its division, plus three crossover games. The two division winners are guaranteed one of the top two seeds for the ACC Championship.
The 10-team ACC Championship will be held in early November, with first round games slated for Nov. 5, quarterfinals for Nov. 9, semifinals on Nov. 14, and the championship on Nov. 16. The first round and quarterfinals will be held at campus sites, with the semifinals and final at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
2014 ACC MEN'S SOCCER PRESEASON COACHES POLL
(first place votes)
Notre Dame (6)
North Carolina (2)
1. Louisville (9) ... 69 (votes)
2. Wake Forest (2) ... 57
3. Clemson (1) ... 50
4. NC State ... 30
5. Boston College ... 26
6. Syracuse ... 20
1. Notre Dame (6) ... 64
2. Virginia (4) ... 62
3. North Carolina (2) ... 53
4. Duke ... 37
5. Virginia Tech ... 23
6. Pitt ... 13