Michael Breslin spent a lot of time in the offseason working on every aspect of his game, doing anything he could to make himself a better player for UC-Irvine. The redshirt junior goalie knew the Anteaters had high expectations for the season ahead, and he wanted to make sure he was at his best. "I tried to improve on everything," Breslin said. "I worked hard on the field and even went back and watched film from games last year to see where I could make improvements." The extra effort has paid off nicely. Breslin, a second-team All-Big West selection a season ago, has started every game during an 8-1-2 start for the Anteaters, one of the nation's best teams. He has allowed only 12 goals and has racked up 36 saves. His goals against average through 11 games is an impressive 1.02.
I attribute a lot of my success to the back line, those guys do a tremendous job.
"I attribute a lot of my success to the back line," Breslin said. "Those guys do a tremendous job. I also think my experience has made a difference. I played in a lot of big games last year. I'm also always working hard to improve every week." It doesn't hurt that Breslin has a talented offense he can depend on each game. Irvine has scored 22 goals in 11 games, including five apiece from Gor Kirakosyan and Eduardo Calzada. Dennis Martinez had racked up four goals. "It's really big to know we have an offense that can score a lot of goals," Breslin said. "It motivates me to want to do my job as best as I can." Breslin, a bright athlete on and off the field, has a history of being at his best. At Tesoro High School in California, he was named an All-American and the South Coast League Player of the Year as a senior. He helped lead his team to two league titles. He also has a great deal of experience at the club level, playing for United Futbol Club for seven years. He said that experience helped prepare him for life as a college soccer player. "Club soccer was a great experience for me," Breslin said. "I played in a lot of big games, competing for championships, and I think that has helped me a lot here at Irvine." After a redshirt season in 2011, Breslin had his first opportunity to play for the Anteaters in 2012. He started 18 matches and went 5-12-1. He allowed 30 goals and made 80 saves, the second-highest save total in the conference. Breslin took his game to another level last year, earning all-conference recognition as he went 15-5-3 in 23 starts. He came up with 10 shutouts and gave up just 19 goals as he helped the Anteaters win 10 more games than they did during the 2012 campaign. Irvine won the Big West tournament championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. The success set the stage for the high expectations Irvine has this year. "We knew coming in that we had a good team," Breslin said. "We want to win a conference title and we want to be national champions. Those goals are in the back of our minds every day. It's why we work so hard as a team." For now, however, the focus is on the regular season. "We have to take it one game at a time and stay focused," Breslin said. "The bigger picture is in our minds, but we know every game is important." [divider]