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INDIANAPOLIS --- Defending regular-season champion University of Illinois at Chicago has been picked to win the 2009 Horizon League men's soccer title in the preseason coaches poll, the League office announced Thursday (Aug. 20).
The Flames received 62 points and six of nine first-place votes, edging crosstown rival and defending champion Loyola University Chicago, which garnered 56 points and two votes to win the League.
Led by returning first-team All-American Jovan Bubonja in goal, UIC is ranked 10th in the NSCAA/adidas NCAA Division I Men's Preseason National Rankings and 11th by College Soccer News.
Butler University was third with 49 points and the other first-place vote, following by Cleveland State University (44 points) and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (38). Rounding out the poll are Valparaiso University (25), the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (22), Wright State University (16) and the University of Detroit Mercy (12).
The regular season will kick off Sept. 1 with seven non-conference matches.
The 2009 Horizon League Men's Soccer Championship presented by U.S. Army will begin Nov. 10 on campus sites. The semifinals and championship will be played Nov. 13 and 15 at the No. 1 seed, with the League champion earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Men's College Cup.
Last season fifth-seeded Loyola blanked Cleveland State 1-0 in the championship match after knocking off top-seeded UIC by the same score in the semifinals. UIC earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship and advanced to the third round on penalty kicks over the University of Dayton and Michigan State University before falling at the University of North Carolina 3-2 in overtime.
Comprised of 10 public and private institutions of higher learning, the Horizon League is an NCAA Division I athletics conference that sponsors 19 intercollegiate championships and is headquartered in Indianapolis. The League and its member institutions aspire to teach young people, through athletic competition, the value of learning, service to others and personal responsibility.
Horizon League teams have enjoyed national success in a variety of sports in recent years, most notably in men's basketball, in which its teams have advanced to the Regional semi-finals of the NCAA Championship three times in the past seven seasons. For more information about the Horizon League, log onto www.horizonleague.org.
2008 2008RankTeamPointsFirst-place votesRecord(League)Postseason1.UIC62 points6 first-place votes12-4-6(6-1-1)NCAA (third round)2.Loyola56211-6-4(3-3-2)NCAA (first round)3.Butler49113-3-4 (5-0-3)4.Cleveland State449-8-3(5-2-1)5.Green Bay386-7-5(4-2-2)6.Valparaiso256-10-3(1-6-1)7.Milwaukee224-10-5(1-5-2)8.Wright State166-14-1(3-4-1)9.Detroit124-13-3(1-6-1)