The UC Santa Barbara men’s soccer team has been ranked 11th in the nation in the initial 2012 National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Continental Tire poll, the NSCAA announced Tuesday.
The Gauchos, who advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2011 NCAA Tournament and finished with an overall record of 15-7-1, welcome back several key returnees and one of the best recruiting classes in the nation.
UCSB will welcome back one of its best offensive players in junior forward Dom Sarle who had four goals and 10 assists for 18 point. He is joined by senior midfielders Josue Madueno (four goals, two assists 10 points) and Machael David (one goal and three assists in an injury-plagued season). Defensively, the Gauchos welcome several of their stalwarts from 2011, including junior defender Peter Schmetz and junior midfielder Fifi Baiden, both of who started all 23 matches last season. Schmetz was named Honorable Mention All-Big West. Also back are senior Nic Ryan who played in 22 matches and started 15 in 2011 and junior Mathew Glodack (14 matches, 13 starts).
Senior goalkeeper Andre Grandt played every minute between the pipes for UCSB in 2011 and once again will be an important ingredient. As a junior, the German national had a 1.39 goals against average, 70 saves and a save percentage of .680.
The Gaucho returnees are joined by a tremendous recruiting class which includes the Gatorade National High School Player of the Year Ema Boateng, a midfielder from Kumasi, Ghana who attended nearby Cate High School. Forward Dion Acoff, a three-time All-Missouri Valley Conference selection will join the program after helping Creighton the College Cup in 2011.
UCSB will add two other NCAA Division I transfers in junior defender Daniel Welsh (University of Maryland-Baltimore County) and freshman Brandon Brockaway (Redshirted at Oregon State in 2011). The Gauchos also welcome a duo of NAIA transfers in junior midfielder Goffin Boyoko (First Team All-NAIA at Auburn University Montgomery) and junior forward Achille Campion (Belhaven University).
Santa Barbara opens its season with an exhibition game against crosstown rival Westmont College on August 18 at 7:00 p.m. in Harder Stadium. After beginning the regular season with a trio of road games, the Gauchos will play their first home game on Friday, Sept. 7 against Valparaiso. In their second home game, they will host UCLA on Friday, Sept. 21. Two years ago, the two schools met at Harder Stadium and shattered the NCAA record for single game attendance. The Bruins open the season ranked second in the NSCAA/Continental poll. Big West Conference rival UC Irvine, which visits Harder Stadium on Oct. 5, starts the season ranked 13th in the nation. North Carolina is ranked No. 1 in the season’s first poll.
NSCAA COACHES POLL
|11||UC Santa Barbara||12||15-7-1|
|18||Saint Mary’s (Calif.)||14||11-7-5|