January 6, 2014

Five Gauchos Crack Top Drawer Soccer's Freshman Rankings

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Five of the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team's first year players were included in the final ranking of the top-100 Division I players, as revealed by Top Drawer Soccer.

Winger Ismaila Jome (No. 12), midfielder Drew Murphy (40), goalkeeper Josh McNeely (45), defender Nick DePuy (56), and midfielder Paul Ehmann (81) all made the cut after putting together spectacular freshman seasons for the Gauchos.

With five honorees, UCSB tied with Furman for the most players included of any institution in the country.

Jome took the Big West Conference by storm this season, filling up his trophy case with Big West Freshman of the Year and All-Region honors as well as being named to national All-Freshman teams by Top Drawer and College Soccer News. The only UCSB player to start every match this season, the speedster accrued seven assists – third best in the conference – and chipped in a pair of goals.

Murphy, a Los Angeles Galaxy Academy product, paced all Big West freshman and ranked second among all conference players with eight assists. UCSB's man over the ball for most set pieces, he was named to the Big West All-Freshman team.

McNeely emerged out of an early-season platoon to have one of the best frosh seasons in program history, setting freshman program records in goals against average (0.83) and minutes (1,836) while tying the mark for appearances (19) and finishing just short in shutouts (six, record is 7), goals against (17, record is 16) and save percentage (.770, record is .787). After the season, he was named the conference Freshman of the Year by College Sports Madness.

The versatile DePuy was a key piece for the Gauchos in 2013, providing workhorse minutes in the midfield early in the season before combining with senior Daniel Welsh to forge a shutdown center back pairing late in the year. The Gauchos allowed one goal or less in five of the six games with him at right center back to close out the campaign. He received an All-Big West Honorable Mention for his efforts.

A German national, Ehmann was a key cog in the Gauchos midfield, linking up well with fellow freshman Murphy. He also saw time at forward and fullback, and showed his offensive potential with a highlight reel goal off the crossbar against Westmont to open the season.

To see the entire Top Drawer freshman rankings, click here.

The UCSB men's soccer team will hold its annual banquet to celebrate the 2013 season on Sunday, January 19 at 6 p.m. in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building's Phil Womble Hall of Champions.

The Gaucho Fund event will include a dinner and team awards presentation.

Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP by Jan. 14 by contacting Christina Baglas at Christina.Baglas@ucsb.edu or (805) 893-5372.

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