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Daily Pilot

Men's Soccer: UCI duo get top honors

Banner year features Big West recognition for Cardenas, Franco.

12:12 AM PST, November 14, 2013

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UC Irvine seniors Enrique Cardenas and Marco Franco have been named Big West Conference Midfielder and Defender of the Year to top four Anteaters recognized on the coach's all-conference selections.

Cardenas and Franco are first-team honorees for the first time, though Franco was a second-team choice in 2011 and received honorable mention in 2012.

Christopher Santana, a senior forward, represents UCI on the second team, while defender Michael Sperber is on the All-Freshman team.

Cardenas had seven goals and five assists in the regular season to lead the 'Eaters in points (19, with two for a goal and one for an assist). He helped lead Coach George Kuntz's squad to the Big West South Division title. His seven goals tied for third in the Big West and he had three game-winners to lead his team.

Franco was a key element in UCI posting a conference-best seven shutouts and the 'Eaters' 0.91 goals-against average tied for second among conference schools. UCI allowed just 18 goals in 19 games, all of which Franco started. He has two assists this season.

Santana had four goals and two assists to help UCI earn a bye into the Big West Conference Tournament semifinals on Friday. UCI will be at home against an opponent to be determined. Two of his goals were game-winners.

Sperber was a physical midfielder whose defensive prowess made him a strong contributor in his first collegiate campaign.

Junior forward Cameron Iwasa (six goals and four assists), sophomore goalkeeper Michael Breslin (seven shutouts) and senior defender Tarek Morad received honorable mention.

Mackenzie Pridham of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo was the Offensive Player of the Year, while Omar Zenni of UC Davis was the Goalkeeper of the Year.

UCSB produced the Coach of the Year in Tim Vom Steeg, as well as Freshman of the Year in Ismaila Jome.

— From staff reports