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CHAPEL HILL – North Carolina defender Boyd Okwuonu was named to the Preseason Best XI list, the website announced Tuesday. Okwuonu, who was a first-team selection, returns to lead a Carolina defense that led the nation in both goals against average and shutout percentage in 2012.

A junior from Edmond, Okla., Okwuonu started 20 games for the Tar Heels last season. UNC allowed just seven goals in 22 total games and advanced to the national quarterfinals for the fifth consecutive year. Carolina’s seven goals allowed, 17 shutouts and 0.29 goals against average were all school records.

Okwuonu was also named to the College Soccer News Preseason All-America first team earlier this month.

Okwuonu and the Tar Heels, who are ranked No. 5 in the College Soccer News preseason poll, open the 2013 season with a trio of exhibitions against Elon, Michigan State and Indiana before starting regular season play with the Carolina Nike Classic Aug. 30 against Monmouth.