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Men's Soccer

UC Irvine Tabbed No. 20 In NSCAA Preseason Poll

8/11/2015

2014 #BigWest Tournament runner-up UC Irvine open the season 20th in the NSCAA Preseason Poll.2015 NSCAA Preseason Top 25 Poll

The National Soccer Coaches Association of America released their preseason men’s soccer rankings, and UC Irvine landed at No. 20 on the list heading into the 2015 season.

Fresh off their second straight appearance in the Sweet 16 – and third since 2008 – the Anteaters finished the 2014 campaign as the nation’s 14th-ranked squad.

Key cogs return for UCI, including a pair of All-Big West First Team standouts in senior midfielder Eduardo Calzada and junior midfielder/defender Michael Sperber.  Calzada’s seven goals topped the squad and tied for third in the Big West.  Sperber helped anchor a stingy defense that posted the conference’s second-lowest goals against average (0.92).

The Anteaters also welcome back senior Michael Breslin, a three-year starter at goalkeeper.  Breslin’s name already is prominently displayed in the Big West career record book, as he ranks No. 9 in shutouts (23) and minutes played (6,155), No. 4 in wins (36) and tied for No. 7 in total matches played (66).  Breslin set the Big West single-season record for minutes played (2344:50) last season.  He also notched 10 shutouts for the second year in a row.

UCI earned a program-best 16-6-3 record in 2014, toppling UNLV and Stanford in the NCAA Tournament en route to its Sweet 16 appearance.

Defending Big West Tournament champion Cal State Fullerton and conference North Division title holder UC Santa Barbara were among the teams receiving votes in the preseason NSCAA poll.

The 2015 season kicks off on Friday, August 28.