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TU Men's Soccer Tabbed Preseason Favorite In C-USA

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

The Tulsa men's soccer team was picked as the Conference USA preseason favorite by the league's coaches, while Cristian Mata was named as the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and both Cristian and Omar Mata were tabbed to the preseason team, as announced by the league office Wednesday.

"Although the preseason awards are somewhat based on what was done last year, it is an honor to be named preseason number one given the quality and stature of all the teams in Conference USA, " Coach Tom McIntosh said.

"C-USA will be one of the top three to four leagues in America and we are excited about embracing the challenge that will come with each game. This league is capable of sending six or seven teams to the NCAA Tournament so we will have to play exceptionally well in every game to get the results."

The Golden Hurricane won the C-USA tournament title, advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, netted 14 wins, including eight shutouts, and outscored its opponents 48-23 a year ago.

New Mexico, Charlotte, Old Dominion and Kentucky round out the top five teams.

Cristian, a sophomore forward, started in 19 of 20 games as a true freshman last season. He led the Golden Hurricane in goals (14), assists (6) and points (34), as well as the league in goals and points. He was named as the Conference USA Freshman of the Year, the C-USA Offensive Player of the Week twice, and was tabbed to the All-C-USA first team and C-USA All-Freshman Team. Cristian was also selected to the College Soccer News Team of the Week once, the Top Drawer Soccer Freshman Team of the Season and was tabbed to the NSCAA Midwest All-Region first team.

A senior midfielder, Omar is a three-year letterwinner and starter. He has tallied 14 goals and 13 assists for 41 points, and is a two-time all-C-USA performer, earning second-team honors as a sophomore and first-team accolades his junior season. As a junior, Omar netted seven goals, including three game-winners, and six assists for 20 points, ranking second in assists, and third in goals scored and points for TU. For his efforts, he was named to the NSCAA Midwest All-Region first team last year.

"Those are well-deserved honors for Cristian and Omar," McIntosh said. "They played excellent last year and are both key players for our team. Again, the preseason awards are somewhat based on last year, so the challenge to Omar, Cristian and the rest of the team is can they be better today and the next day and so forth."

2013 Preseason C-USA Men's Soccer Poll

1. Tulsa

2. New Mexico

3. Charlotte

4. Old Dominion

5. Kentucky

6. UAB

7. South Carolina

8. FIU

9. Marshall

10. Florida Atlantic


Preseason Offensive Player of the Year

Cristian Mata, F, Tulsa


Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

Kyle Venter, D, New Mexico


2013 Preseason All-C-USA Men's Soccer Team

Thomas Allen, D, Charlotte

Giuseppe Gentile, F, Charlotte

Tyler Gibson, M, Charlotte

Steven Perinovic, D, Kentucky

Michael Calderon, M, New Mexico

Kyle Venter, D, New Mexico

Tim Hopkinson, F, Old Dominion

Braeden Troyer, M, South Carolina

Cristian Mata, F, Tulsa

Omar Mata, M, Tulsa

Darion Copeland, D, UAB

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