Aug. 12, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team was picked ninth by College Soccer News and 21st by the NSCAA in a pair of preseason ranking lists released Tuesday. Defending national champion Wake Forest was No. 1 in both.
In the CSN poll, Santa Clara, which came in fifth, and Santa Barbara were the lone West Coast schools in the top-10. Other teams from the Big West Conference in this year's poll include Cal Poly (24th) and UC Davis (30th). The Gauchos were ranked third in last year's CSN preseason poll.
UCSB is the lone ranked team from the Big West on the NSCAA list. The Gauchos were ranked No. 1 by the NSCAA to start the 2007 season.
UCSB is coming off a 2007 season in which it won its fifth Big West Conference championship in the last seven years and qualified for a sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament.
A total of 15 players return from last year's squad, including senior forward Chris Pontius, the 2007 Big West Offensive Player of the Year. Also coming back for their senior years are forward Nick Perera, the 2006 College Cup Most Outstanding Offensive Player, and midfielder Alfonso Motagalvan, a First Team All-Big West pick in 2007.
UCSB welcomes one of its best, and largest, recruiting classes this season. A total of 16 players comprise the incoming contingent, which was ranked sixth in the nation and best in the West by College Soccer News.
Santa Barbara opens its 2008 campaign with its annual exhibition match against Westmont on Aug. 23 (7 p.m.). The regular season kicks off on Aug. 29 as the Gauchos play host to Air Force at Harder Stadium (7:30 p.m.).
-- UCSBGauchos.com --