Aug. 15, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara, the defending Big West regular season champion, has been picked to finish tied for third in 2005 by the league's coaches, it was announced today.
The Gauchos, who received one first-place vote in the poll, were chosen to finish behind Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton, and it a tie with Long Beach State. Although Cal Poly garnered 57 total points in the poll, the Mustangs had just two first-place votes. Fullerton had 54 total points, but the Titans were the choice of four coaches to win the title. UCSB and Long Beach State each had 42 points and one first-place vote.
Cal State Northridge (30 points), Pacific (29 points), UC Riverside (21 points) and UC Irvine (13 points), round out the poll.
UCSB finished the 2004 season with a 13-6-2 overall record and a 7-1-1 mark in the Big West Conference. The Gauchos were the number one seed in the 2004 Big West Tournament, but lost in the championship match to Cal Poly.
In 2005, Santa Barbara will need to replace several key players who graduated following the 2004 season, including Jennifer Borcich, a three-time Big West Offensive Player of the Year and a four-time First Team All-Big West selection. Leading the way among returnees are forward Allie Kueny and defender Katie Cooper, each of whom received Second Team All-Big West recognition last year. Midfielder Darci Gwartz, an honorable mention choice, also returns.
UCSB opens the season with its annual Alumni Game on Saturday, Aug. 20 at 4:30 p.m. Because of field renovations taking place at Harder Stadium, the game will be played at Santa Barbara's Dwight Murphy Field. On Monday, Aug. 22, the Gauchos will play Westmont College in an exhibition game slated for 7:00 p.m. at Santa Barbara High School. UCSB opens the regular season at Fresno State on Aug. 26. The Gauchos home opener will be on Sunday, Aug. 28, when they host Central Florida at 1:00 p.m.