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Men's Soccer

UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Fullerton Picked To Win Men's Soccer Divisions

8/17/2016

The Gauchos and Titans are picked to repeat as division champs in 2016.

2016 Men's Soccer Preseason Poll


UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton have been tabbed as the favorites to win their respective divisions, as voted on by the eight head men’s soccer coaches in their annual preseason poll Wednesday.
   
In addition, the coaches selected an 11-player preseason all-conference team.   
   
This is the fourth straight year that the coaches picked UC Santa Barbara to win the North Division.  The Gauchos were a unanimous selection with eight first-place votes and 32 points.  Cal Poly, which joined UCSB with a conference-high tying three players on the preseason all-conference team, earned 19 points for second place.  UC Davis was third with 18 points and Sacramento State fourth with 11.
   
For the first time since the Big West implemented division play in 2013, Cal State Fullerton is the favorite to capture the South Division crown.  The Titans notched seven first-place votes and 31 points for the top spot.  UC Irvine and CSUN tied for second with 20 points each, with the Anteaters claiming the other first place nod.  UC Riverside rounded out the voting with nine points.
   
UCSB earned its third straight division title – and ninth Big West championship overall – finishing 14-7-2 overall and 7-2-1 in league action in 2015.  The Gauchos reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in school history.  Back from that squad is two-time Big West Offensive Player of the Year and NSCAA First Team All-American Nick DePuy.  The Irvine, Calif. native was one of the nation’s most potent scorers with 15 goals in 2015, including an NCAA-best eight game-winning goals.  The Gauchos bring back a strong core of returners to surround DePuy, including all-conference selections Ahinga Selemani, Kevin Feucht and Josue España.  UCSB is ranked No. 13 nationally in the NSCAA preseason poll.
   
Cal Poly returned to the NCAA Tournament last season, its first postseason trip since 2008, under the direction of first-year head coach Steve Sampson.  Five starters and 15 letterwinners return from that 11-win club which matched a program record.
   
The two-time defending Big West Tournament champions, Cal State Fullerton also broke through with its first South Division title in 2015.  The Titans are two-for-two in the postseason conference tournament under mentor George Kuntz, who also has guided the Titans to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.  CSF returns leading scorer Diego Sanchez, who netted eight goals, as well as All-Big West Second Team performer Ricardo Covarrubias.
   

The preseason all-conference team features three Gauchos in DePuy, Feucht and Selemani, and a trio of Mustang seniors in forward Justin Dhillon, midfielder Ruben Duran and defender Kody Wakasa.  UCI put teammates Michael Sperber and Thomas Janjigian on the team.  Rounding out the list are Cal State Fullerton sophomore midfielder Ronaldo Pineda, Sacramento State sophomore forward Brad Bumgarner and UC Riverside senior defender Stephen Copley.

2016 Big West Men's Soccer
Preseason Coaches Poll

NORTH DIVISION

No. School
Pts.
1. UC Santa Barbara (8) 32
2. Cal Poly 19
3. UC Davis 18
4. Sacramento State 11

SOUTH DIVISION
No. School
Pts.
1. Cal State Fullerton (7) 31
2. UC Irvine (1) 20
  CSUN 20
4. UC Riverside 9

2016 Big West Men's Soccer Preseason All-Conference Team

Name School Pos. Year
Brad Bumgarner Sacramento State F Sophomore
Stephen Copley UC Riverside D Senior
Nick DePuy UC Santa Barbara F Senior
Justin Dhillon Cal Poly F Senior
Ruben Duran Cal Poly MF Senior
Kevin Feucht UC Santa Barbara MF Junior
Thomas Janjigian UC Irvine D Senior
Ronaldo Pineda Cal State Fullerton MF Sophomore
Ahinga Selemani UC Santa Barbara F Junior
Michael Sperber UC Irvine MF Senior
Kody Wakasa Cal Poly D Senior





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