Montevallo picked to finish second in men’s soccer preseason poll


The University of Montevallo was picked in a two-way tie for second in the 2012 Peach Belt Conference men’s soccer preseason poll, which was released Aug. 22 by the conference office.

Affter sweeping the Peach Belt Conference regular-season and tournament championships a year ago, Flagler College was voted as the preseason team to beat in a poll of the league’s head coaches.

The Saints came out on top of a wide-ranging vote by the coaches in which six different teams received first-place votes. Flagler got five of the 10 first-place votes available and finished with 75 points in total, nine ahead of Montevallo and Clayton State, which were tied for second with 66. Lander was fourth with 57, just ahead of UNC-Pembroke at 53. Newcomer Young Harris was next, followed by North Georgia, USC-Aiken, Francis Marion and Georgia Southwestern.

Montevallo won the 2010 Peach Belt Conference Tournament title and reached the championship game last year against Flagler. The Falcons, who earned a bid to the NCAA Division II National Tournament for the fifth time in the past six years in 2011, return nine starters and and 13 key players from last year.

Montevallo has four All-Conference players back, including first-team goalkeeper Brendan Ledgeway, who led the PBC in goals against average. Also back are senior All-Conference forward Shane Howard and All-Conference defenders Mike Rinzema and Gary O’Neill.

The Falcons will open their season on Aug. 31 at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla.