SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - This Friday, Nov. 4, the biggest rivalry game in men's college soccer will take place as UC Santa Barbara hosts Cal Poly at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium at 7 pm. FOX Soccer Channel will broadcast the Gauchos vs. Mustang match for the third time in series history.
In the last five years, the rivalry has produced exciting, nail-biting contests between the two squads. Since 2007, the Gauchos hold a slight 5-2-3 lead in the series over the Mustangs. Six of the last 10 games played have been decided by one goal, and six of the games have gone into overtime.
UCSB, the defending Big West Tournament Champions, was favored to win the 2011 regular season conference crown in a poll of the Big West men's soccer coaches this past summer. UCSB got six of the seven first place votes, and Cal Poly came in second with the remaining vote. The Gauchos have already qualified for the conference tournament while the Mustangs are now out of contention.
The most recent contest played between the rivals was Oct. 14 on Cal Poly's home turf in front of a sellout crowd of 11,075. The game was determined by a last-minute penalty kick with only 26 seconds left on the clock, resulting in a 2-1 Gaucho loss. The recent contest stretched UCSB's losing streak on the Mustang's home turf (Oct. 27, 2010 and Nov. 4, 2009 as well) to three consecutive games- the Gauchos have not been able to clench a win at Spanos Stadium since 2008.
The story at home, however, is much different. UCSB has not lost to the Mustangs at Harder since 1998. The Gauchos have posted an 11-0-2 record against Cal Poly on their home pitch since that 4-2 loss on Nov. 13, 1998 and have won the last three straight.
Cal Poly's sellout attendance at this season's previous match between the teams ties the eighth largest crowd in NCAA regular season history and landed the Gauchos their sixth spot on the NCAA's top-10 regular season attendance list. Of the top-20 most highly attended regular season games, UCSB and Cal Poly have played in six of those contests.
UCSB is attempting to sell out Harder Stadium on Friday. If it does so, every student in attendance will receive a coupon for a free slice of pizza at Woodstocks.
To purchase tickets to the match, visit the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, call 805-893-UCSB or buy online here. Students are always free with valid ID.