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UCSB Men’s Soccer Ranked Ninth in Nation in Preseason Poll

UCSB is one of only two West Coast schools placed in the top 10 by College Soccer News.

The UCSB men’s soccer team is ranked ninth in College Soccer News’ preseason top 30 poll.

Defending national champion Wake Forest topped the poll, while Connecticut was second and Maryland third.

Santa Clara, which came in fifth, and UCSB were the lone West Coast schools in the top 10.

The Gauchos are coming off a 2007 season in which they won their fifth Big West Conference championship in the past seven years and qualified for a sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament.

Fifteen players will return from last year’s squad, including senior forward Chris Pontius, the 2007 Big West Offensive Player of the Year. Also coming back for their senior years are forward Nick Perera, the 2006 College Cup Most Outstanding Offensive Player, and midfielder Alfonso Motagalvan, a First Team All-Big West pick in 2007.

UCSB welcomes one of its best, and largest, recruiting classes this season. A total of 16 players comprise the incoming contingent, which was ranked sixth in the nation and best in the West by College Soccer News.

The Gauchos were ranked third in last year’s CSN preseason poll, their highest placing ever.

Santa Barbara opens its 2008 campaign with its annual exhibition match against Westmont at 7 p.m. Aug. 23. The regular season kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 29 as the Gauchos play host to Air Force at Harder Stadium.

Scott Flanders is UCSB‘s associate media relations director.

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