Men's Soccer Picked Fourth in New Big West South Division

2012 Big West Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll Adobe PDF Icon

The Cal State Fullerton men's soccer team was picked to finish fourth in the newly formed Big West Conference South Division, and seventh overall, according to a vote of the league's coaches released by the conference office on Thursday.

The Titans (7-7-5 overall, 1-6-3 in the Big West in 2011) received one first-place vote and 13 points overall to finish behind preseason favorite, No. 13 UC Irvine, the league's defending regular season and tournament champion. The Anteaters received six first-place nods and 29 points overall and were followed by Cal State Northridge (which received one first-place vote), UC Riverside, and Fullerton.

No. 11 UC Santa Barbara was a unanimous pick to win the North Division with eight first-place votes and 32 points overall, and was followed by UC Davis, Cal Poly, and Sacramento State.

The Big West formed two divisions for 2012 with the addition of Sacramento State, which joined as an associate member of the conference in men's soccer only. The last time the league's men's soccer teams competed in divisions was 1984 when Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC Irvine, and UNLV comprised the South Division and Fresno State, San Jose State, UC Santa Barbara, and Pacific made up the North Division.

This season, the winners of the league's two divisions along with the two second-place teams will face off in the 2012 Big West Conference Tournament. The North Division champion will take on the South Division's second-place team while the South Division champ will host the North's second-place squad in the semifinals on Nov. 7. The winners advance to the championship match at the home of the higher-seeded team on Nov. 10.

Led by seventh-year head coach Bob Ammann, the Titans return 13 letter winners and five starters off of last year's squad, but will have to cope with the loss of their top three scorers from a season ago in Kevin Venegas, Oscar Aguero, and Nick Posthuma, who combined for 12 goals and 11 assists.

Junior Ritchie Gonzalez and senior Jesse Escalante each tallied five points on a pair of goals and an assist to lead the returning group while senior Jameson Campbell leads all returners with three assists to go with a goal from 2011. In all, Fullerton returns just 11 of its 27 goals and seven of its 18 assists from a season ago

The Titans' regular season begins on Aug. 24 as they host American University in the nightcap of their own tournament at 7 p.m. at Titan Stadium. League rival Cal State Northridge and the University of Portland will kick-off the event in the first game at 4:30 p.m.

2012 BIG WEST CONFERENCE MEN'S SOCCER PRESEASON POLL
NORTH DIVISION
1. UC Santa Barbara (8) - 32 points
2. UC Davis - 20
3. Cal Poly - 16
4. Sacramento State - 12

SOUTH DIVISION
1. UC Irvine (6) - 29 points
2. Cal State Northridge (1) - 23
3. UC Riverside - 15
4. Cal State Fullerton (1) - 13

() - denotes first-place votes

PRESEASON BIG WEST ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Forwards

Dion Acoff, UC Santa Barbara, Sr.
Edwin Rivas, Cal State Northridge, So.
Matt Wiesenfarth, UC Davis, So.

Midfielders
Machael David, UC Santa Barbara, Sr.
Aaron Long, UC Riverside, Jr.
Christopher Santana, UC Irvine, Jr.

Defenders
Jose Diaz, UC Riverside, Sr.
Peter McGlynn, UC Santa Barbara, Sr.
Everett Pitts, UC Irvine, Sr.

Goalkeepers
Michael Abalos, Cal State Northridge, Sr.
Cesar Castillo, Sacramento State, Jr.