Duke named ACC men's favorite

Duke, which finished the 2006 regular-season as the No. 1 team in the Soccer America Top 25 men's rankings, was named the 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference preseason favorite, in a vote of the league's nine head coaches.

The Blue Devils, who return 10 of 11 starters, finished the 2006 season with an 18-4-1 record, their best since 1999, reached the NCAA quarterfinals for the second time in three years, won the ACC Tournament for the second year in a row, and earned the ACC regular-season title.

Duke are loaded with upperclassmen, led by midfielder Michael Videira and forward Mike Grella.

Wake Forest and Virginia wrap up the top three selections as the Demon Deacons were picked to finish second with 66 points.  Wake Forest, led by 2006 ACC Coach of the Year Jay Vidovich, returns nine of 11 starters from a team that tied for first in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and advanced to the NCAA semifinals for the first time in school history.

Also coming off a 2006 NCAA semifinal appearance for the ninth time in Cavalier history, Virginia, the No. 3 preseason pick, welcomes back six starters and 15 letterwinners, including German striker Yannick Reyering.

North Carolina and Maryland are the coaches' picks to finish fourth and fifth, respectively. The Tar Heels, led by Andre Sherard, one of only four returning starters. The Terrapins finished the 2006 season 16-5-1 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.

Completing the preseason poll in order of projected finish is Clemson (35), Virginia Tech (24), Boston College (24), and N.C. State (17).

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