SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The first of the men's soccer preseason polls has been released by College Soccer News and it has UC Santa Barbara ranked as the No. 9 team nationally heading into the 2011 campaign.
UCSB is one of just two schools from the West in the top-10 along with No. 2 UCLA, which the Gauchos will face in Westwood on Sept. 16. The 2010 College Cup runner-up Louisville has garnered the top ranking while the reigning national champion Akron is ranked fourth. UCSB will host the Zips at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium on Oct. 5.
North Carolina, which also advanced to the College Cup last season, is ranked No. 3. SMU, Creighton, Connecticut and Maryland rank fifth through eighth, respectively, and Brown comes in at No. 10.
The Gauchos are slated to face No. 16 Duke on Sept. 2, their first road match of the year, and No. 22 West Virginia at home on Sept. 9. UCSB is the only Big West program represented in the top-30 rankings.
To view the complete list, click here.
UCSB returns six starters from its 2010 squad that posted a 14-5-3 record, won the Big West Conference Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round. Among the returning players are the Gauchos' top-three scoring leaders from last season: Sam Garza, David Opoku and Luis Silva.
The UCSB men's soccer season kicks off on Aug. 20 when the Gauchos host cross-town foe Westmont in an exhibition match at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. The game is one of 12 exciting home pairings scheduled for UCSB this fall.
To ensure you don't miss a minute of the 2011 soccer season, purchase your season tickets now by calling (805) 893-UCSB, visiting the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus or by clicking here.