Aug. 16, 2004
Santa Barbara, Calif. -
With a nationally-ranked recruiting class and six starters returning from last season's squad that advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team was picked to finish atop of the Big West Conference. This is the third consecutive season that the Gauchos have been tabbed as the preseason favorite amongst the Big West head coaches.
UCSB tied for the number one spot with defending conference champion Cal State Northridge with 29 points apiece. Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine wound up tied for third with 21 total points, while UC Riverside and Cal Poly rounded out the standings with 14 and 12 points, respectively. The Matadors and Titans each received two first place votes to lead the field with the Gauchos and Anteaters claiming the other two.
"Cal State Northridge is the defending champion so you have to respect them, and we have a good group of guys returning plus another good group of guys coming in," said head coach Tim Vom Steeg, "It looks like it is going to be another dogfight just as it was last year."
UCSB, which has been tabbed a preseason No. 13 by College Soccer News, began practice today in preparation for the upcoming season in hopes of regaining the Big West Championship and advancing to its third straight NCAA Tournament.