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UCSB Men’s Soccer Picked to Win Big West North Division

For the fifth straight season, the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team has been selected as the favorite to win the Big West North Division while a pair of Gauchos were voted to the Preseason All-Conference Team, the Big West announced on Thursday.

UCSB earned six first-place votes and 28 total points among the eight conference head coaches to edge out UC Davis, who earned one first-place vote and 25 total points to rank second. Cal Poly received the other first-place vote to go with 17 total points for a third-place finish and Sacramento State was picked fourth with 10 points.

Kevin Feucht, the 2016 Big West Midfielder of the Year, and All-Freshman Team selection Noah Billingsley were named to the 12-player preseason squad. Feucht earns the preseason honor for the second season in a row.

The Gauchos will be without Feucht, as he suffered an ACL injury on the first day of practice and is out for the season. The two-time NSCAA Far West All-Region selection led the team with 11 goals last year and added two assists.

In his absence, UCSB will turn to Billingsley to fill the void offensively. The Wellington, New Zealand native burst onto the scene as a freshman and finished the year with two goals and three assists in 19 games.

In the South Division, Cal State Northridge was picked the favorite, receiving six first-place votes and 30 points. Cal State Fullerton picked up the other two first-place votes and 24 points to finish second in the poll. UC Riverside was slated third with 14 points and UC Irvine rounded out the teams with 12.

The Gauchos open the season this Saturday with their annual  exhibition game against Westmont. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

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