WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - In a polling of the Conference’s six men’s soccer coaches, UCLA was voted the preseason favorite to win the 2012 Pac-12 regular season for the second year in a row, the Conference announced Tuesday. The defending Pac-12 Champion and NCAA runner-up Bruins received 24 points and four first-place votes. The Bruins are searching for their eighth title overall this season.
2012 Pac-12 Coach of the Year Jorge Salcedo and the Bruins return five starters including All-Pac-12 honorees SR MF Ryan Hollingshead and SR D Matt Weit. CALIFORNIA, with 18 points, placed second. Cal returns a duo of all-conference players in SR D Steve Birnbaum and SR MF Tony Salciccia. The Golden Bears also return 2011 Freshman of the Year SO MF Seth Casiple.
In third place was WASHINGTON coming in just one point behind Cal with 17 points. The Huskies will build off the success of second year head coach Jamie Clark. UW recorded the most program wins last season since 2006. STANFORD garnered 14 points for fourth, followed by SAN DIEGO STATE with 11 points. OREGON STATE rounded out the coaches poll with six points.
The 2012 season will be a landmark year for the Conference with the launch of the Pac-12 Networks tomorrow. Pac-12 men’s soccer teams will be featured in 28 live contests shown on the Networks. For a full schedule of televised Pac-12 matches, visit www.pac-12.org
2012 Pac-12 Men’s Soccer Coaches Poll
1. UCLA (4) 24
2. California (1) 18
3. Washington (1) 17
4. Stanford 14
5. San Diego State 11
6. Oregon State 6