MSoc: Gauchos picked to win Big West North

UCSB was selected to repeat as the Big West North Division soccer champion, and three Gauchos received preseason recognition, as the league released its 2015 Preseason Coaches’ Poll and all-conference team on Wednesday.

Ismaila Jome is one of three Gauchos on the Preseason All-Big West Team. The others are Nick DePuy and Drew Murphy.

Ismaila Jome is one of three Gauchos on the Preseason All-Big West Team. The others are Nick DePuy and Drew Murphy.

Forward Nick DePuy, midfielder Drew Murphy and left back Ismaila Jome – all juniors – were tabbed among the conference’s best 11. The Gauchos and UC Irvine each had a conference-best three players named to the Preseason All-Big West Team.

In the coaches’ poll, UCSB received seven of eight first-place votes and 30 points overall, most of any Big West school. UC Irvine (five first-place votes, 26 points) was chosen to take the Big West South.

Elsewhere in the North Division, Cal Poly was picked to finish second (22 points), followed by UC Davis (17) and Sacramento State (11).

Cal State Northridge (22 points) was tabbed to finish runner-up in the South in front of Cal State Fullerton (20) and UC Riverside (12).

This year, the Gauchos will be looking for their third consecutive division title, a 15th consecutive 10-plus win season, an 11th Big West Championship (seven regular season, one tournament, two division to date), and a 13th trip to the postseason in the last 14 years.

DePuy, the reigning Big West Offensive Player of the Year and a two-time All-Conference selection, scored 10 goals in 13 appearances at forward last season, a pace that would translate to 15 goals over a 20-game season. With a season at forward under his belt and a set position for the first time in his UCSB career, big things are expected from the 6-4 striker in 2015.

Jome is a two-time All-Big West first-team honoree. He was recognized last season for his play at left back.

Murphy, a left-footed midfielder, has led or co-led the team in assists each of the past two seasons, totaling 13 helpers.

The Gauchos will open the 2015 season this Saturday, Aug. 22 as they host Westmont for their annual exhibition match. The regular season starts next Friday, Aug. 28 with a marquee match-up against eighth-ranked Stanford.

Preseason All-Big West Team

Name, School. Position, Year
Mats Bjurman, UC Irvine, MF, Sr.
Eduardo Calzada, UC Irvine, MF, Sr.
Nick DePuy UCSB, F, Jr.
Wade Hamilton, Cal Poly, GK, Sr.
Ismaila Jome, UCSB, MF, Jr.
Matt LaGrassa, Cal Poly, MF, Sr.
Chase Minter, Cal Poly, MF, Sr.
Trevor Morley, CSUN, D, Sr.
Drew Murphy, UCSB, MF, Jr.
Michael Salazar, UC Riverside, F, Sr.
Michael Sperber, UC Irvine, MF, Jr.

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