The defending national champion Indiana men's soccer team has been picked as the favorite to win the Big Ten title in a poll of conference coaches, the Big Ten office announced Wednesday.
The Hoosiers were followed in the poll by 2012 Big Ten Tournament champion Michigan State, 2012 co-regular season champion Northwestern, Michigan, 2012 co-regular season champion Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State.
Three IU players were selected as players to watch in 2013. Senior midfielder A.J. Corrado, senior midfielder Nikita Kotlov and junior midfielder Dylan Mares were those selected .Corrado led the Big Ten in assists last season with 12, starting all 24 matches.
Kotlov is IU's leading returning scorer, finishing with nine goals and four assists (22 points) in 23 appearances. He finished the season tied for second in the Big Ten in points and goals scored and was third in shot attempts.
Mares is entering his first season as a Hoosier after two years at Louisville. Last season he started 18 of 19 matches played for the Cardinals and led the team in goals (seven) and total points (20). As a freshman in 2010 he appeared in 22 matches and was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Year. Mares missed the 2011 season due to injury.
Indiana returns eight starters from last year's championship team, including senior captains Jacob Bushue and Harrison Petts. The 2013 season gets underway on Aug. 30 against SMU at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in Bloomington. The Hoosiers then face No. 9 UCLA on Sunday, Sept. 1 at 2 p.m. ET in a match that will be shown live on the Big Ten Network.
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