Quintet of Gauchos Earn Preseason All-Conference Nods from College Sports Madness

Josh McNeely (Photo by Francis Lipinski)
Josh McNeely (Photo by Francis Lipinski)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Headlined by Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Josh McNeely, five Gauchos were today named to the College Sports Madness Preseason All-Big West Team.

A Big West All-Freshman selection in 2013, McNeely was joined on the Preseason First Team by sophomore midfielder Ismaila Jome, who is coming off a Big West Freshman of the Year award.

Rounding out UCSB's honorees on the Second Team were junior forward Charlie Miller, sophomore midfielder Drew Murphy, and sophomore defender Nick DePuy.

UCSB's five selections were tied with Cal State Northridge for the most of any Big West squad.

McNeely, a sophomore goalkeeper from Calabasas, Calif., set program freshman records last season for goals against average (0.83) and minutes (1,836), allowing just 17 goals while recording six clean sheets. The shotstopper was named the Big West Freshman of the Year last fall by College Sports Madness.

Jome hasn't been able to stop receiving accolades since the conclusion of his electric freshman campaign, picking up All-Big West First Team and Freshman of the Year honors while becoming the first conference player to earn All-Region honors since the league reinstituted men's soccer in 2001. Last week, the winger was included on the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, awarded to the nation's top collegiate soccer player at the conclusion of each season.

Miller enters his junior year as the team's most prolific returning goalscorer; the 6-3 forward had four goals and a pair of assists last season, ranking fifth on the team in overall points despite making just four starts. The former Servite High School standout will be counted upon to pick up some of the scoring left by departed forwards Achille Campion and Goffin Boyoko.

A Big West All-Freshman Team selection a year ago, Murphy had the most assists by a Gaucho rookie (eight) since 1978 and finished second in the entire conference in the statistic. The midfield visionary will continue to be relied upon as a goal creator in 2014.

DePuy was one of just four Gauchos to appear in all 21 games last season, featuring at center back, left back, and midfield. An All-Big West Honorable Mention as a freshman, the 6-4 DePuy will be a versatile piece for Tim Vom Steeg once again this year.

UCSB will play in its annual exhibition game for the Bryant and Sons Cup when it hosts Westmont College at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23. The regular season opens with games at the College of Charleston and Furman on Aug. 29 and Aug. 31 respectively. The first regular season Meredith Field at Harder Stadium appearance will be Friday, Sept. 5 at 7:00 p.m. against Northwestern.

To purchase season tickets for UCSB men's soccer, or for additional information, please drop by the Athletics Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, call (805) 893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.