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UCSB Picked 2nd in Big West Women’s Soccer Poll

The UC Santa Barbara women's soccer team has been picked to finish second and a pair of Gauchos have been selected to the 2016 Big West Preseason All-Conference Team in the annual poll of the league's women's soccer coaches, it was announced Thursday.

UCSB, a 2015 Big West co-Champion, collected two first-place votes and 69 total points in the poll, second only to Long Beach State, also a 2015 co-champion, which earned six first-place votes and 77 points. It is the highest the Gauchos have been picked in the preseason poll in seven years.

Cal State Northridge, which received the only other first-place vote, and Cal State Fullerton tied for third in the poll with 53 points.

"I think the higher expectations for our program are a good thing," said Gauchos' head coach Paul Stumpf. "It is a compliment to our players and to the direction we have gone with our recruiting."

UCSB went 13-6-1 overall and 6-2 in the Big West in 2015. The 13 wins were the program's highest total since it also posted 13 victories in 2004. The six league wins were also the most since 2004 when it won seven.

Helping to lead Santa Barbara will be sophomore midfield/forward Mallory Hromatko and junior forward Amanda Ball, a pair of Big West Preseason All-Conference Team selections.

Hromatko was the league's Freshman of the Year in 2015 in addition to earning First Team All-Big West and Second Team All-West Region recognition. She ranked third in the conference in goals (nine), assists (six) and points (24). Hromatko was the highest scoring UCSB freshman since 2001 and her five game-winning goals were among the most in league history.

Despite being limited to the final 12 games in 2015 Ball was able to muster five goals and two assists for 12 points. She was named Second Team All-Big West and Third Team All-West Region.

"It's exciting to get two players on the preseason all-league team," Stumpf said. "It's even better that neither one is a senior. Mallory and Amanda are both very deserving."

UCSB hosts Westmont College in an exhibition game on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 7:00 p.m. at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. The Gauchos will open the regular season on Aug. 19 at Fresno State before playing six straight home games. On Aug. 26, they will play St. Mary's in their home opener in a 7:00 p.m. match.

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