The UC Irvine men's soccer team has been picked to finish second in the Big West Conference preseason coaches poll announced Wednesday.

The Anteaters received 43 points, five behind defending regular-season conference champion UC Santa Barbara, which received six of the seven first-place votes.

Coach George Kuntz's Anteaters collected the other first-place vote.

UCI, which won the regular-season and conference tournament crowns in 2008 and repeated as Big West Tournament champion last season, was 15-7 in 2009, when it made its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The 'Eaters are 30-9-6 over the past two seasons.

UCI is led by senior forwards Amani Walker and Spencer Thompson, as well as junior goalie Andrew Fontein and defenders Corey Attaway and Gray Bailey.

Walker had nine goals and three assists en route to first-team all-conference recognition last season.

Thompson posted seven goals and four assists to earn second-team all-conference laurels. He is also a candidate for the 2010 Herman Trophy, awarded annually to the nation's top player.

The Anteaters open the season Sept. 1 at home against Gonzaga. UCI opens Big West play Sept. 29 at home against UC Riverside.

— From staff reports

UCI in NCAA top five

The UC Irvine men's water polo team is ranked No. 5 in the 2010 Collegiate Water Polo Assn. preseason top 20 poll.

Coach Marc Hunt's Anteaters received 76 points, behind Cal (95), UCLA (94), Stanford (91) and USC (90).

UCI was also picked fifth behind the aforementioned schools in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation preseason poll and finished fifth in the final NCAA poll last season.

The 'Eaters are led by seniors Brandon Johnson and Tom Kruip, both returning All-Americans who combined for 99 goals last season, a team-high 50 by Kruip.

UCI opens its season Sept. 4 at home in the UCI Invitational.

— From staff reports

Knapp stands out

Jake Knapp, who will be a junior at Estancia High this fall, is three shots off the lead after the second of three rounds at the American Junior Golf Assn. Junior at Centennial tournament at Centennial Golf Club in Medford, Ore.

Knapp, whose opening-round of six-under-par 66 Tuesday was one shot off the course record and earned him a two-shot lead, shot 72 Wednesday. He enters today's final round in second place, three shots back of George Cunningham from Arizona.

Knapp added a sterling performance the previous weekend, playing with a Southern California team that dominated the 12-team Eddie Hogan Cup, winning the Portland, Ore. event by 16 shots. The four-player team was six-under over two days, topping teams from throughout the west, as well as Canada and Hawaii.