University of Virginia picked to win ACC North Region
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The defending Atlantic Coast Conference Champion Virginia Cavaliers were picked to win the North Region in the 2020 ACC Preseason Men’s Soccer Coaches Poll. The Cavaliers received nine of the 11 North Region first place votes.
Senior captain Nathaniel Crofts (Sheffield, England) was named to the 11-player preseason watch list. The fourth-year forward is Virginia’s lead top returning scorer from a year ago. In the Cavaliers’ run to the NCAA Championship game in 2019, Crofts netted six goals and added three assists. His five game-winning scores last season were tied for the second most in the ACC and tied for 16th most in the nation. Five of the six goals came against top-25 opponents.
Virginia totaled 59 points in the poll of the league’s 11 coaches, the most of any ACC team and was one of four programs to receive a vote as the league’s overall champion. The Cavaliers have been picked to finish first or second in their division/region in six of the last seven years.
Entering his 25th season at the helm, head coach George Gelnovatch returns 10 letterwinners from last season’s College Cup team. In addition to Crofts, Virginia’s will return its starting goalkeeper Colin Shutler (Middleburg, Va.), a First Team All-American in 2019 and enters the 2020 season with a career goals against average of 0.59, the fourth lowest in UVA history. Rising sophomore Andreas Ueland (Bryne, Norway) will anchor the back line after garnering Freshman All-America honors from TopDrawerSoccer.com
The Cavaliers welcomed 13 newcomers, including eight true freshman and five transfers. The 2020 recruiting class was recently ranked No. 8 in TopDrawerSoccer.com’s final rankings.
The 2020 season begins on Friday (Sept. 11) with an exhibition against Clemson at Klöckner Stadium, a rematch of the 2019 ACC Championship game. The six-game ACC-only regular season will begin in Blacksburg against Virginia Tech on Oct. 2.
2020 ACC Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll
Wake Forest (4)
North Carolina (1)
- Virginia (9), 59
- Pitt (2), 44
- Virginia Tech, 35
- Syracuse, 30
- Louisville, 29
- Notre Dame, 28
- Clemson (5), 45
- Wake Forest (5), 44
- North Carolina (1), 33
- NC State, 21
- Duke, 17
First place votes are in parentheses.
2020 Preseason Watch List
- Kimarni Smith, Senior, Forward, Clemson
- Jack Doran, Graduate, Midfielder, Duke
- Pedro Fonseca, Junior, Forward, Louisville
- Alec Smir, Junior, Goalkeeper, North Carolina
- George Asomani, Senior, Midfielder, NC State
- Jack Lynn, Junior, Forward, Notre Dame
- Edward Kizza, Senior, Forward, Pitt
- Sondre Norheim, Senior, Defender, Syracuse
- Nathaniel Crofts, Senior, Forward, Virginia
- Kristo Strickler, Senior, Forward, Virginia Tech
- Michael DeShields, Senior, Defender, Wake Forest