Wednesay August 27, 2008
AIKEN, S.C.--USC Aiken was selected third in the preseason Peach Belt Conference Men’s Soccer coaches poll, the conference office released last week. The Pacers, who finished one point out of first each of the past two seasons, received 23 total points including one first-place tally. Clayton State (33) just edged out Lander (32) by the slimmest of margins to earn preseason favorite billing.
Six-points were awarded for first-place votes, five-points for second, etc. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
The Lakers are the three-time defending PBC Champions including sharing honors with Lander in 2006. The two programs evenly split six of the seven first-place votes. UNC Pembroke was fourth in the voting with 22 points followed by Francis Marion (17), North Georgia (14), and Georgia Southwestern (6).
Head coach Ike Ofoje, entering his 13th season at the helm, will try to continue expanding on the best two-year period in the program’s 17-year NCAA history by taking advantage of home field. Dating back to September 2006, the Pacers are an impressive 13-2-1 at “Pacer Pit” including a school record 14-match unbeaten streak. In addition, USC Aiken has not lost a home conference match in two seasons, going 5-0-1 over that span with wins over #14 Clayton State, #20 Lander, and a tie with #5 USC Upstate.
USC Aiken returns five of its top seven scorers from last year led by PBC Co-Player of the Year and Honorable Mention All-American Kofi Akyere. His 12 goals and three assists accounted for over 40 percent of the team’s offense. Midfielder Tim Costanzo and former All-Conference striker Reuben Ojeyinka also headline the returners.