UCSB Opens Big West Play at UC Riverside

Peter Schmetz (By Adam Caira)

Sept. 28 Weekly Release

• The Schedule 
Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 7 p.m.
No. 7 UC Santa Barbara (6-1-1) at UC Riverside (5-2-1)
at UC Riverside Soccer Stadium
Series Record vs. Highlanders: 21-2-1
Last Meeting: W, 2-0 - Nov. 6, 2010
Radio Broadcast • Live Stats

Saturday, October 1, 2011, 7 p.m.
No. 7 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 7 UC Irvine (8-1)
at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium
Series Record vs. Anteaters: 32-14-4
Last Meeting: T, 0-0 (2OT) - Oct. 30, 2010
Radio Broadcast • Live Stats • Live Streaming

• Big Week In The Big West
UCSB opens Big West Conference play on the road this Wednesday at UC Riverside before returning home to the friendly confines of Harder Stadium on Saturday to take-on defending regular season champion No. 7 UC Irvine. The Gauchos, who won the 2010 Big West Tournament, were favored to win the 2011 conference crown in the preseason coaches' poll.  

• Tune In
Fans unable to make it to either of this week's matches can tune into AM 1290 KZSB, the Santa Barbara News-Press Radio Station, for a live broadcast of the games. Gerry Fall will be calling the play-by-play and Mark Patton will handle color commentary. AM 1290 will air the Oct. 5 pairing against defending NCAA Champion Akron, all home and away Big West Conference matches and all postseason play. You can listen online here. Saturday's match will also be streamed live on BigWest.TV

• For The Record
Coming off a pair of wins last weekend, UCSB has improved to 6-1-1 on the season. The start is the team's best since 2004, when it went unbeaten through its first 12 games. 

• Hi Ho Silva
Senior midfielder Luis Silva scored his first collegiate hat trick to lead UCSB to its 3-0 win over USD last Friday. For his standout performance, he was named the Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week and was placed on both the College Soccer News and Top Drawer Soccer National Teams of the Week. Silva now leads UCSB and the Big West in goals (5) and is the league-leader in shots per game (3.71) and goals per game (0.71). Among all Division I players, he ranks 27th in goals per game and 34th in total goals. 

• André The Giant
Silva wasn't the only Gaucho that was rewarded this week, junior goalkeeper André Grandt picked up Big West Defensive Player of the Week accolades after tallying a pair of shutouts. He  now has five on the year. The junior leads the league with his 0.72 goals against average, five shutouts and 0.62 shutouts per game average. Nationally, Grandt ranks 32nd in GAA. 

• Honorable Mentions
While Silva and Grandt received awards for their performances, a few other Gauchos are deserving of a shout out for their contributions last week. Sophomore Dom Sarle assisted the first of Silva's two goals on Friday. He now leads the team with three assists. Sophomore David Opoku had two assists as well: the first on Silva's third goal and the second was on Machael David's game-winner against Sacramento State. Opoku is tied with Silva for the team lead in points with 10 (4 goals, 2 assists). Last but not least, David had the gamewinning goal and an assist in the win over the Hornets.

• Pulse On The Polls
The national polls are almost in complete consensus that UCSB is the No. 7 team in the nation this week. The Gauchos are ranked seventh by College Soccer News, Top Drawer Soccer, Soccer America and Soccer Times. The NSCAA has UCSB up three spots from last week at No. 10 and has moved the Gauchos two spots higher in the Far West rankings to No. 2. Saturday's opponent, UC Irvine, is ranked as high as No. 7 by the NSCAA (and No. 1 in the Far West). Three polls have the Anteaters at No. 8 (Top Drawer Soccer, Soccer America and Soccer Times) and one has them at No. 9 (College Soccer News).  

• Home Sweet Harder
The Gauchos extended their home unbeaten streak to 16 matches with the weekend's two wins. UCSB has posted a 14-0-2 record within the friendly confines of Harder Stadium, dating back to Sept. 10, 2010. UCSB is also currently amidst a four-game home shutout streak. The Gauchos have not allowed a goal on Meredith Field in 399:02 consecutive minutes. 

• 35 Minutes Or Less
UCSB should open its own pizza chain, because the Gauchos sure know how to make a quick delivery. In all seven games that UCSB has scored in, it has posted its first goal within the first 35 minutes. This weekend's first goals came in the 11th minute (USD) and the 20th (Sac State). 

• Getting Crowded
Speaking of Harder Stadium, the Gauchos welcomed the second biggest crowd in campus history on Friday night. A total of 13,772 fans attended the victory over San Diego. That attendance total ranks as the second highest in NCAA regular season history at an on-campus venue. The record in that category was set at Harder Stadium on Sept. 24, 2010 with 15,896 fans. 

• We're The Cream Of The Crop, We Rise To The Top
This probably comes as no surprise, but UCSB currently ranks as one of the top teams in the nation in several statistical categories. The Gauchos are 11th in shutout percentage (0.63), 15th in won-lost-tied percentage (.813), 27th in team goals against average (0.72), 29th in scoring offense (2.0 goals per game) and 30th in total goals (16). 

• Lights, Camera, Action
UCSB will once again have two of its home matches televised live nationally as part of the NSCAA College Game of the Week on Fox Soccer Channel. The Gauchos' first televised match will be next week's Oct. 5 pairing with defending NCAA champion Akron. UCSB will then welcome Fox Soccer back to Harder Stadium on Nov. 4 when the Gauchos host rival Cal Poly. 

• The Vom Steeg File
In his 13th year leading the Gauchos, head coach Tim Vom Steeg is the winningest coach in Big West history. Vom Steeg has posted a 177-67-26 record at the helm of UCSB and a 156-49-25 record since the program rejoined the Big West in 2001. Vom Steeg is also the winningest coach in UCSB men's soccer history and has turned the Gauchos into an annual national title contender. The 2004 and 2006 NSCAA National Coach of the Year, Vom Steeg guided the Gauchos to the NCAA title in 2006 and the championship game in 2004. He has guided UCSB to five Big West titles in the past nine years and nine consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. He won Big West Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2004, 2005 and 2010 and has produced 16 All-Americans. 

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