Coastal picked to continue soccer success in Sun Belt

ccusoc-celebrasteCoastal Carolina University men’s soccer will embark on its inaugural Sun Belt Conference season as the favorites to win the league, it was announced Tuesday as the conference released the results of its preseason poll.

In addition, junior forward Frantzdy Pierrot was voted Preseason Co-Offensive Player of the Year alongside Hartwick’s Jamie O’Grady. Moreover, Chanticleers Elis Bjornsson, Louis Dargent and Einar Einarsson joined Pierrot as preseason all-conference selections.

Coastal, which holds national preseason rankings of 18 and 21 by TopDrawerSoccer.com and the NSCAA, respectively, received five of a possible six first-place votes to total 35 points. Hartwick, the reigning back-to-back Sun Belt champions, secured the final first-place vote and 31 points to finish second in the voting. Georgia State came in third with 23 points, followed by Georgia Southern in fourth with 17 points. Appalachian State and Troy rounded out the poll with 14 and six points, respectively.

Pierrot, a junior, is the fourth Chanticleer to be selected as a preseason offensive player of the year since 2012, joining Ashton Bennett (2012), Pedro Ribeiro (2013) and Ricky Garbanzo (2014) who each earned the nod from the Big South Conference. Pierrot, who enters his first season at Coastal after transferring from Northeastern, has 10 career goals and seven assists. The 6-foot-4 Haitian forward was named the Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year in 2014.

Splitting the preseason honor with Pierrot is the Hawks’ O’Grady, who earned All-Region honors from the NSCAA in 2015. O’Grady was also voted the 2015 Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year, named first team all-conference and the Sun Belt Tournament Most Outstanding Player.

Bjornsson, Dargent and Einarsson each earned all-conference second team honors last season as they helped lead Coastal to a 13-3-4 overall mark and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament’s second round. Bjornsson and Einarsson were two of the three defenders named to the Sun Belt preseason team, while Dargent is one of four midfielders.

The Chants open the regular season on Fri., Aug. 26 at No. 17 Virginia, then travel to William & Mary on Mon., Aug. 29 before making their home debut Sept. 2 against VCU.

2016 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Soccer Preseason Poll (First-Place Votes in Parentheses)
Coastal Carolina – 35 points (5)
Hartwick – 31 points (1)
Georgia State – 23 points
Georgia Southern – 17 points
Appalachian State – 14 points
Howard – 6 points

2016 Sun Belt Preseason All-Conference Team
Stephen Chapman (Appalachian State, Senior, Forward)
Frantzdy Pierrot (Coastal Carolina, Junior, Forward)
Rashid Alarape (Georgia State, Junior, Forward)
Louis Dargent (Coastal Carolina, Junior, Midfielder)
Thor Sveinbjornsson (Georgia Southern, Junior, Midfielder)
Jack Donaldson (Hartwick, Senior, Midfielder)
Jamie O’Grady (Hartwick, Senior, Midfielder)
Elis Bjornsson (Coastal Carolina, Senior, Defender)
Einar Einarsson (Coastal Carolina, Senior, Defender)
Kit Tregear (Hartwick, Senior, Defender)
Lenny Wilson (Hartwick, Sophomore, Goalkeeper)

2016 Preseason Co-Offensive Players of the Year
Jamie O’Grady (Hartwick, Senior, Midfielder)
Frantzdy Pierrot (Coastal Carolina, Junior, Forward)

2016 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Kit Tregear (Hartwick, Senior, Defender)

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