Senior forward Mackenzie Pridham picked up another preseason honor, and the Cal Poly men’s soccer team was picked to finish third in the four-team North Division of the Big West Conference on Thursday.
The Mustangs return eight starters from a team that matched program records for overall (11) and conference (6) victories and returned to the Big West Tournament semifinals for the fourth time in five years, but it was not enough to climb into the top two.
In the preseason poll, the coaches selected UC Santa Barbara to return to form with a division title after the Gauchos landed in fourth last season. UC Santa Barbara had 25 points and five first-place votes.
Defending North Division champion UC Davis was second with 23 points and three first-place votes. The Mustangs got 21 points, and Sacramento State was fourth with 11 points.
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Pridham was the long Mustangs player to make the preseason all-conference team. Earlier this week, he was added to the Hermann Trophy Watch List for national player of the year and was named as one of 30 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes community, classroom, character and competition achievement.
Pridham is one of eight players named to both the Hermann and Senior CLASS lists. He was an All-NSCAA third-team selection and All-Big West first-team pick last season, when he was second in the conference with 11 goals, including six game-winners.