Aug. 14, 2002
UAB, which has made three consecutive NCAA appearances and won a pair of Conference USA titles in the league's short history, has been selected to win the 2002 regular season title in a vote taken by the league's 11 head coaches. Saint Louis forward/midfielder Jack Jewsbury, a second team all-C-USA performer last season after earning the league's Player of the Year Award in 2000, has been selected the 2002 preseason Player of the Year.
UAB, which has never lost more than three conference matches in a season, welcomes back eight returning starters and 16 letterwinners this fall. Included are three preseason All-Conference selections. Senior F Flavio Monteiro is a dynamic scorer that leads the Blazers offense, along with F Marin Pusek. Both players were second team All-C-USA choices last fall. Goalkeeper Clint Baumstark earned Conference USA Freshman of the Year honors after posting a league-high nine shutouts to go along with a 0.96 GAA.
Perennial NCAA contender Saint Louis, which has earned at least a share of the last four regular season titles, was chosen second this preseason. The Billikens matched UAB with three preseason all-league choices. Joining Jewsbury are a pair of defenders, Jason Cole and Mike Kirchoff. Cole has been named first or second team all-league in each of his three seasons at SLU, while Kirchoff was the Billikens top scoring defender last season.
Coming off a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, South Florida was selected third. George Kiefer, the lone new head coach in Conference USA this fall, takes over a team that features a pair of preseason honorees. Senior F Jeff Thwaites ranked second in the league in shots (67) and seventh in points (22) and goals (9) in 2001, while D Jared Vock earned a spot on the league's All-Freshman team as well as being named second team All-Conference.
Marquette has been picked to finish fourth, followed by Charlotte. The Golden Eagles were 12-8-1 last season and will look for even more success in the upcoming campaign with the help of senior D Steve Lawrence and junior F/MF Derek Gutierrez. The 49ers will look to last year's freshman sensation, F Mira Mupier, to help Charlotte become a factor in the conference race.
Cincinnati is picked to finish sixth, followed by Louisville and Memphis. The Cardinals are represented on the preseason All-C-USA squad by senior D Adrian Cann, a first team all-league and second team all-region performer in 2001.
Rounding out the poll is TCU, East Carolina and DePaul, respectively.
2002 C-USA PRESEASON AWARDS
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jack Jewsbury, Sr., F/MF, Saint Louis
Clint Baumstark, So., GK, UAB
Adrian Cann, Sr., D, Louisville
Jason Cole, Sr., D, Saint Louis
Derek Guttierrez, Jr., F/MF, Marquette
Jack Jewsbury, Sr. F/MF, Saint Louis
Mike Kirchoff, Sr., D, Saint Louis
Steve Lawrence, Sr., D, Marquette
Flavio Monteiro, Sr. F, UAB
Mira Mupier, So., F, Charlotte
Marin Pusek, So., MF, UAB
Jeff Thwaites, Sr., MF, South Florida
Jared Vock, So., D, South Florida
2002 C-USA PRESEASON POLL
as selected by C-USA coaches)
2. Saint Louis
3. South Florida
10. East Carolina