#31 UCSB Men's Soccer 2013 Preview

UCSB Gauchos

Overall Rank: #31
Conference Rank: #1 Big West
#31 UCSB Men's Soccer 2013 Preview
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After ten straight NCAA tournament appearances, UCSB slumped in 2012. The Gauchos went 4-5-1 in conference play and finished a disappointing 10-6-3 overall. A rash of injuries derailed what started out as more of the same. Coach Tim Vom Steeg’s team did not lose a game until October. But once that first loss came to Cal State Northridge, victories became very hard to come by. With an offseason to get healthy and reload, expectations are back up, but a few questions still remain.

2012 Record: 10-6-3, 4-5-1
2012 Postseason: None
Coach: Tim Vom Steeg

In just seven contests, Achille Campion netted six goals. The senior forward was seriously hampered by injuries, but is back to lead the way up front. Campion will get help from promising sophomore Charlie Miller. He scored three goals as a freshman, seeing limited action mostly off of the bench. Reed McKenna is a transfer from UCLA who will hope to see some quality playing time after being stuck on the bench with the Bruins. He is a great talent and that could show if he is able to crack the regular rotation. Incoming freshmen Armand Bagramyan, Nick DePuy, Andy Perez, Drew Murphy and Ismailia Jome are all capable of helping out the Gaucho attack. The UCSB defense should be very strong again in 2013. The team allowed just 18 goals in 19 games. Peter Schmetz missed all but seven games in 2012 and his healthy return will provide more depth to the unit. Daniel Welsh is an all-conference caliber player and Matthew Glodak and Brandon Brockway were regular starters a year ago. Add Louisville transfer Isaiah Trejo and the talented freshmen to the mix and Coach Vom Steeg will have enough depth to deal with any more unfortunate injuries that should strike.

The Gauchos recently lost Ema Boateng to the professional ranks and that will take its toll on the midfield. Few players could change a game like he could. He had a very strong freshman campaign and would have been a favorite to earn Big West Player of the Year accolades in 2013. Fellow midfielder Nic Ryan, who led the Gauchos in scoring with eight goals and added three assists, is also gone. So are part-time starters Machael David and Josue Madueno. That is quite a bit of talent, experience and production to replace. Sophomore Duncan Backus has potential and Goffin Boyoko is a relatively experienced senior, but much of the depth will have to come from freshmen. Fifi Baiden will need to hold the midfield together. Baiden, a 5-8 senior, is a defensive minded presence in the midfield and gets the whole team moving at the right pace. While Baiden is basically a coach on the field, he will need some help from the rest of the midfield.

Final Projection:
Keeper Austin Mansker found some success in goal as a freshman. He was not always the most consistent keeper, but he did continue to improve as the season progressed. Despite being a returning starter, Mansker’s job is not totally safe. Incoming freshman Josh McNeely is arguably the best player in this class. UCSB does not always have the most talented players, but they usually play much better as a team. That did not happen last year and the doubts remain that the Gauchos could struggle again. Yet, even if they fail to live up to their potential, this team will not be nearly as disappointing as they were in 2012.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Achille Campion, Senior, F, 6
Assists: Fifi Baiden, Senior, M, 2; Daniel Welsh, Senior, D, 2
Shots: Goffin Boyoko, Senior, M, 28
Saves: Austin Mansker, Junior, GK, 50

Madness 2014 MLS Draft Rankings:
#24 Fifi Baiden
#36 Achille Campion

Madness 2013 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#59 Joshua McNeely
#126 Drew Murphy


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