Briefs: 'Eaters picked second

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.

Knapp shot one-under 143 to finish second individually at the Riverside Country Club. He was two shots behind medalist and teammate Beau Hossler from Rancho Santa Margarita.

— From staff reports

Belden scores twice

Newport Harbor High product Anne Belden scored two goals for the United States women's water polo team, but the Americans fell to Australia, 7-5, in the FINA World Cup in Christchurch, New Zealand on Wednesday.

Belden had one goal in the Americans' opening win over Russia.

Team USA faces New Zealand today.

— From staff reports

Ross, partner shine

Newport Harbor High graduate April Ross teamed with Jen Kessy to win twice Wednesday on the first day of the main draw at the Federation Internationale de Volleyball World Tour event in Aland, Finland.

Ross and Kessy were forced to win two qualifying-round matches Tuesday to advance to the main draw, after entering late, due to the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals tour suspending its season last week.

Ross and Kessy defeated No. 13-seeded Bibiana Candelas and Mayra Garcia, both from Mexico, 21-15, 21-13, in the second round Wednesday. Ross and Kessy topped No. 29-seeded Germans Jana Kohler and Julia Sade, 22-20, 21-15, in the first round.

Ross and Kessy face No. 12-seeded Andrezza Martins and Cristina Santanna, both from Georgia, in the third round today.

— From staff reports

Sea Kings stand out

Corona del Mar High is one of the top 10 schools for both boys and girls in the 19th annual Commissioner's Cup, the CIF Southern Section office has announced.

The commissioner's cup is a way of determining the top overall athletic programs among Southern Section schools. Corona del Mar finished fifth on the girls' side and seventh on the boys' side.

Corona del Mar had won five of the previous six Commissioner's Cups for girls, and the five titles is the most all-time on the girls' list. This year, Harvard-Westlake won the honor with 19 points; the Sea Kings girls earned 10.

Corona del Mar earned three points each for its division runner-up finishes in cross country and girls' volleyball, and two points each for advancing to the CIF semifinals in water polo and tennis.

Loyola won the boys' title with 19 points. CdM had 13.

The Sea Kings earned five points for winning the CIF title in soccer, and two points each for semifinal finishes in water polo, tennis and boys' volleyball. In addition, CdM got two points for finishing third in CIF swimming and diving.

— From staff reports

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