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AROUND THE BIG WEST
Beach Projected To Be The Best: Coming off of its fourth Big West regular-season title it shared with UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State was picked to finish first in the 2016 Big West Women’s Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll. The 49ers will kick off its 2016 campaign at home as they host Kentucky Friday evening at 7 pm at George Allen Field. The Wildcats were ranked as high as No. 9 in the national polls in 2015, a program-high for UK. LBSU also found its way into the polls and pulled in a No. 23 ranking twice last season.
McKeown To Lead Beach Backfield: Senior goalkeeper Ashton McKeown, a 2015 Big West All-Conference second-team honoree, looks to help the 49ers to their second-straight regular season title. The senior’s current career 0.81 goals-against average ranks fifth-best in the Big West record book and second in 49er history. McKeown also enters her fourth and final collegiate campaing ranked among the top three in Long Beach history with 18 shutouts (2nd) and 151 saves (3rd).
Fullerton Receiving Votes: Cal State Fullerton, the reigning Big West Tournament champion, is receiving votes in the National Soccer Coaches Asssociation of America’s (NSCAA) preseason poll after being picked to finish third in the Big West Conference Preseason Poll. Last season marked the second time the Titans won back-to-back-to-back Big West Tournament titles (2005-07, 2013-15) and they remain the only program in league history to accomplish the feat. Fullerton looks to make history this season with the opportunity to win its fourth-consecutive Tournament crown.
Abutin To Assist Mustangs: Cal Poly senior Megan Abutin returns for the Mustangs for her final collegiate campaign and will be a cog in CP’s Big West Quest. The fourth year has scored 14 goals and distributed 20 assists over the past three campaigns, including 12 in 2014 which tied for third-best in conference history for most assists in a single season. The senior has also been a part of 16 shutouts for CP while her 48 career points are the 11th-best in Cal Poly history.
UCSB Poised To Make Noise: UC Santa Barbara, a 2015 regular season tri-champion, is hot off of the heels of their first regular season title since 2004. The Gauchos return key players in sophomore Mallory Hromatko and junior Amanda Ball. Hromatko led her squad with nine goals and six assists for 24 points while Ball netted five scores and added two assists for 12 points. The Gauchos’ 17 goals scored in league a season ago was a conference-best.
Long Beach Home To Tournament in 2016: Long Beach State will host the 2016 Big West Women’s Soccer Tournament from November 3-6 at George Allen Field. Consistent with previous years, the four teams with the best marks in league at the close of the regular season will earn berths to the conference tournament.