July 29, 2005
SAN BRUNO, CA - The Santa Clara men's soccer team was selected as the favorite to capture the 2005 West Coast Conference crown, as voted on by the conference coaches. The Broncos received three first place votes to finish first, while Loyola Marymount received two first place votes to finish second and San Francisco, the defending WCC champion, received two first place votes to finish third. San Diego was selected fourth with 19 overall points, while Portland was picked fifth with 17 points. Saint Mary's and Gonzaga were picked for the sixth and seventh place spots with 13 and six points, respectively.
The Broncos, who posted a 15-6-0 overall record and an 8-3 mark in WCC play last year, will be looking for a third straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament after finishing third in the WCC standings a year ago. Head Coach Cameron Rast returns eight starters from last season's squad, including All-American midfielder and team scoring leader Medhi Ballouchy in addition to a recruiting class that has been ranked among the nation's elite.
LMU, picked to finish second, earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight time last year, tying with Portland for the longest active selection streak among WCC programs. Despite losing All-American Matt Kovar to graduation, the Lions will rely on an experienced unit that includes 16 returning letterwinners and three second team All-WCC performers from last season.
San Francisco, the defending WCC champion, was selected for a third place finish and returns 10 starters including 2004 WCC Player of the Year Aaron Chandler. Erik Visser, last season's conference Coach of the Year, also welcomes back goalkeeper Geremy Uhl who paced the circuit with a 0.38 goals against average in WCC contests a year ago.
San Diego, tabbed fourth, also returns an experienced unit that includes 10 returning starters from a squad that went 4-6-2 in conference play last season. Included in the returning cast are first team All-WCC selections Michael Caso and midfielder Ryan Guy, who tied for the league lead with nine assists in 2004.
Portland, voted fifth, returns a number of key ingredients from last season's 12-8-2 squad including 2004 WCC Freshman of the Year Michael Gavin and goalkeeper Luis Robles, who led the conference with 104 saves in 2004.
Coming in at No. 6 in this year's poll is Saint Mary's, who returns 10 starters and 18 letterwinnners including Freshman All-American goalkeeper Brian Mason. Gonzaga, picked to finish seventh, returns some offensive firepower with three of last season's top four scorers returning, including forward George Josten who tied for the team lead with five goals in 2004.
Men's Soccer 2005 Preseason Poll
1. Santa Clara - 33 (3)
2. Loyola Marymount - 31 (2)
3. San Francisco - 28 (2)
4. San Diego - 19
5. Portland - 17
6. Saint Mary's - 13
7. Gonzaga - 6
(First place votes)