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Pitt tops ACC preseason poll; Valentin Noel named to Watch List

Photo courtesy Pitt Athletics

Pitt’s men’s soccer team, under the guidance of sixth-year head coach Jay Vidovich, were tabbed as the preseason overall champion in the ACC Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Poll released today.

Junior midfielder Valentin Noel was named to the ACC Watch List. The Niort, France, native returns for his third year after a sophomore season that saw him notch United Soccer Coaches First Team All-America, CollegeSoccerNews First Team All-America, ACC Offensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy award. Noel finished second in the country in goals (14), third in points (30), 13th in goals per game (.74) and 23rd in points per game (1.58) in Pitt’s record-breaking 2020-21 campaign.

The Panthers received nine first-place votes in the Coastal Division, topping second-place and 2020 College Cup squad North Carolina, who earned three. Pitt won its first Coastal Division crown last season, finishing 9-1 in ACC play.

Pitt earned seven votes as the overall champion, while Clemson and North Carolina received three and two votes, respectively. The Panthers finished the 2020 fall campaign 7-1 and earned a trip to the ACC Championship Final for the first time in program history.

The Panthers were named the No. 3 team in the country via the United Soccer Coaches Pre-season Poll Aug. 4, the highest pre-season ranking in school history.

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Pitt concludes its exhibition slate Saturday, Aug. 21 with a road contest at Maryland starting at 7:30 p.m. The Panthers open regular season play Thursday, Aug. 26 at home against Duquesne at 8 p.m. with coverage on the ACC Network.

2021 ACC Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Overall Champion

Pitt, 7 votes
Clemson, 3
North Carolina, 2

Atlantic Division

1. Clemson (9), 64
2. Wake Forest (2), 57
3. Louisville, 38
4. Boston College (1), 36
5. NC State, 27
6. Syracuse, 24

Coastal Division

1. Pitt (9), 64
2. North Carolina (3), 58
3. Virginia Tech, 40
4. Virginia, 32
5. Duke, 28
6. Notre Dame, 24

First-place votes in parentheses

2021 ACC Preseason Watch List
Victor Souza, Jr., D, Boston College
Oskar Ågren, Jr., D, Clemson
Peter Stroud, So., M, Duke
Pedro Fonseca, Sr., F, Louisville
Alec Smir, Gr., GK, North Carolina
Leon Krapf, R-Sr., GK, NC State
Jack Lynn, Sr., F, Notre Dame
Valentin Noel, Jr., M, Pitt
Deandre Kerr, So., F, Syracuse
Andreas Ueland, Jr., D, Virginia
Sivert Haugli, Sr., D, Virginia Tech
Kyle Holcomb, Sr., F, Wake Forest


Vidovich, Pitt reload with eight newcomers to experienced, battle-tested roster

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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