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Men's Soccer

Men's Soccer Opening Kickoff Coming Friday

8/23/2016

The 2016 #BWCMSOC season kicks off Friday with all eight teams in action.2016 Men's Soccer Release No. 1

The opening weekend of the 2016 men's soccer season features six games against opponents ranked in the NSCAA Preseason Top-25 poll.

HEADERS

UC Santa Barbara Ranked Preseason Top-25
The UC Santa Barbara men’s soccer team, coming off the program’s seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen, is ranked No. 13 nationally in the NSCAA Preseason Poll.  The Gauchos finished 14-7-2 overall in 2015 and return a trio of All-Big West First Team honorees in seniors Nick DePuy and Josue España, and junior Kevin Feucht.

DePuy On MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List
Nick DePuy is the eighth Gaucho since 2005 to be named to the Preseason Watch List for the MAC Hermann Trophy Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate men’s soccer player.  One of 28 players on this year’s list, and only one of four who reached the semifinal round in 2015, DePuy led the Big West in goals (15), game-winning goals (8), points (31) and shots (80).  His eight game-winners topped the nation.  His 14 career game-winning strikes is No. 3 all-time in Big West history.  DePuy is bidding to become the first three-time recipient of Big West Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Coaching Mountaintop
The three winningest head coaches in Big West history are still going strong, leading their respective programs at UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Fullerton and CSUN.  Tim Vom Steeg, in his 18th season at UCSB, became the first head coach in Big West history to accumulate 200 overall wins and 100 conference wins.  Since 2001, when the Big West reinstated men’s soccer, Vom Steeg is 211-81-37, with a 104-30-18 mark in league contests.  George Kuntz has accumulated a combined 164 wins between two Big West institutions in UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton – the No. 2 win total all-time.  His 71 Big West victories is third behind Vom Steeg and CSUN boss Terry Davila, who is 74-52-26 in his 15 seasons as a Big West mentor.  Davila is No. 3 all-time in overall wins with 152 behind Vom Steeg and Kuntz.

Encore, Encore!
Steve Sampson impacted the Cal Poly program in a significant way, polishing off his first season with a trip to the NCAA Tournament and a program record-tying 11 victories.  The former United States Men’s National Team manager took the Mustangs to their first postseason since 2008 and mentored a program record eight players to all-conference accolades.

Tournament Terror
In the eight-year history of the Big West Tournament, six champions have been coached by George Kuntz.  Kuntz owns an all-time conference tournament record of 12-1-1.  His UC Irvine teams won in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013.  After moving over to Cal State Fullerton, his first two Titan sides have hoisted the trophy in back-to-back seasons.

All-Conference Flavor
The three returning members from the 2015 All-Big West First Team to the pitch this season all hail from UCSB – seniors Nick DePuy and Josue España along with junior Kevin Feucht.  In addition, seven players from the all-league second team are back, including Ahinga Selemani of UCSB and Cal Poly teammates Ruben Duran and Kody Wakasa.  The UCI duo of Michael Sperber and Thomas Janjigian joins CSF’s Ricardo Covarrubias and UC Riverside’s Stephen Copley on that list.

THROW INS

NCAA Tournament Opponents On Tap
Big West squads are taking on a challenging 2016 men’s soccer non-conference schedule, playing a total of 20 contests versus 13 different opponents which participated in last year’s 48-team NCAA Tournament field.

UC Santa Barbara is battling a conference-high four postseason opponents from the 2015 tourney, including Final Four participant Akron.  The Gauchos also host UCLA, and meet Oakland and Ohio State opening weekend.  Cal Poly opens the season with a visit to North Carolina and Wake Forest, teams that advanced to the Quarterfinals and Round of 16, respectively.  All eight Big West squads play at least one opponent that appeared in the NCAA Tournament field last year.

Here is a list of opponents which played in last year’s NCAA Tournament.

CAL POLY        
North Carolina       
Wake Forest       
UCLA         
           
CAL STATE FULLERTON           
Vermont   
UCLA           
Santa Clara      
       
CSUN       
Tulsa           
UCLA         
Utah Valley   

SACRAMENTO STATE
Utah Valley

UC DAVIS
Utah Valley

UC IRVINE
Notre Dame
Indiana
Santa Clara

UC RIVERSIDE
Santa Clara 
Denver

UC SANTA BARBARA
Oakland
Ohio State
Akron
UCLA

Preseason Posturing
The Big West has regularly received its share of national recognition, including in the selection of preseason polls.  At least one conference school has appeared in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America preseason top 25 in 13 of the last 14 seasons.

NSCAA PRESEASON RANKINGS

Year School Ranking Year School  Ranking
2003 UC Santa Barbara No. 21 2011 UC Santa Barbara No. 14
2004 UC Santa Barbara No. 15   UC Irvine No. 24
2005 UC Santa Barbara No. 4 2012 UC Santa Barbara No. 11
2006 CSUN No. 19   UC Irvine No. 13
  UC Santa Barbara No. 22 2013 UC Santa Barbara RV
2007 UC Santa Barbara  No. 1    CSUN RV
2008 UC Santa Barbara  No. 21 2014 UC Irvine No. 16
2009 UC Irvine No. 15     UC Santa Barbara No. 18
  UC Santa Barbara No. 16   CSUN No. 24
  Cal Poly No. 23 2015 UC Irvine No. 20
  UC Davis RV 2016 UC Santa Barbara No. 13
2010 UC Santa Barbara No. 8   Cal Poly RV
  UC Irvine  No. 25      
           
RV - Receiving Votes

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