SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team received all eight North Division first place votes in the annual Big West Preseason Coaches Poll, becoming the first conference squad to be a unanimous selection since the Gauchos were also handed every first place vote in 2012.
Additionally, sophomore midfielder Ismaila Jome was selected to the 11-man Preseason All-Conference Team, adding to a summer of accolades including Preseason All-American honors and being named to the MAC Hermann Award Watch List. He was one of just two sophomores included on the All-Conference Team.
"We certainly set a high standard for our team last season, and returning so many players means expectations are going to be high," said UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "We're excited for the challenge and we will work to meet those high expectations."
The Gauchos will be returning six starters and 14 letterwinners this season to a team that went an undefeated 7-0-3 in conference play a year ago (12-6-3 overall) and received a No. 10 national seed in the NCAA tournament, the highest in program history. In addition, they welcome in the No. 8 freshman recruiting class, according to Top Drawer Soccer.
UCSB will be looking to continue a string of success rivaled by few across college soccer since the start of Vom Steeg's tenure. With a strong squad, the Gauchos have the chance to reach the postseason for the 12th time in the past 13 years, accrue double-digit wins for the 14th straight campaign, and lead the nation in attendance for the eighth straight season.
Elsewhere in the North Division, UC Davis was picked to finish second (20 votes), followed by Cal Poly (19) and Sacramento State (9).
Cal State Northridge was selected to win the South Division (30 points), followed by UC Irvine (24), UC Riverside (14), and Cal State Fullerton (12).
UCSB will play in its annual exhibition game for the Bryant and Sons Cup when it hosts Westmont College at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23. The regular season opens with games at the College of Charleston and Furman on Aug. 29 and Aug. 31 respectively. The first regular season Meredith Field at Harder Stadium appearance will be Friday, Sept. 5 at 7:00 p.m. against Northwestern.
To purchase season tickets for UCSB men's soccer, or for additional information, please drop by the Athletics Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, call (805) 893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.
2014 Big West Men's Preseason All-Conference Team
|Justin Dhillon||Cal Poly||Forward||So.|
|Wade Hamilton||Cal Poly||Goalkeeper||Jr.|
|Cameron Iwasa||UC Irvine||Midfielder||Sr.|
|Matt Lagrassa||Cal Poly||Midfielder||Jr.|
|Ismaila Jome||UC Santa Barbara||Midfielder||So.|
|Ramon Martin del Campo||UC Davis||Defender||Sr.|
|Ian Ramos||Cal State Fullerton||Midfielder||Sr.|
|Matt Wiesenfarth||UC Davis||Forward||Sr.|