Aug. 6, 2004
Santa Barbara, Calif. -
With a core group of experienced players from last year's Sweet 16 squad and a top caliber recruiting class, the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team will enter the 2004 season with a No. 13 ranking from College Soccer News. The Gauchos' moved up six spots from 2003's highest preseason mark of 19th, also from College Soccer News.
UCSB returns 13 players, seven starters, from last year's team that advanced to the program's first ever Sweet 16 and ended the season ranked 12th by the NSCAA. The Gauchos' senior class, led by reigning Big West Goalkeeper of the Year Dan Kennedy, and including defenders Tony Lochhead and Jon Apilado, as well as forwards Drew McAthy, Neil Jones, and Matt Bly, have all been a part of what are considered three of the best seasons ever. Combined under their belts the six seniors have two Big West Championships and one second place finish, four NCAA Tournament games, including two shutout victories, a overall record of 45-13-5, and eleven all-conference nominations.
On the other end UCSB is ushering in a top notch recruiting class that was ranked ninth in the country by both Soccer America and College Soccer News, once again the highest ever such mark in program history. Santa Barbara at the nine spot is second best on the west coast in the CSN poll and third best in the Soccer America poll.
The Gauchos will begin the 2004 season when they travel to San Diego State for their opener on September 1st at 4:00 p.m. UCSB will prepare for its opener with its annual Blue and Gold scrimmage on August 28th at 1:00 p.m. in Harder Stadium.