UCSB to Face UC Irvine in Big West Final
• The Schedule
Big West Tournament Championship
Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011- 7 p.m.
No. 2 UC Santa Barbara (14-5-1) at No. 1 UC Irvine (15-5-1)
at Anteater Stadium
Series Record vs. Anteaters: 32-15-4
Last Meeting: L, 2-0 (Oct. 1, 2011)
Live Stats • Radio Broadcast
• Familiar Territory
No. 2 seeded UC Santa Barbara advanced to its fourth-consecutive Big West Tournament Final with a 2-1 victory over No. 3 seed UC Davis on Wednesday night. The Gauchos will face top-seeded UC Irvine in the title game on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Anteater Stadium. This marks the third time in the conference tournament's four-year history that UCSB and UC Irvine will meet in the championship game.
• Tune In
Saturday's match – and all other postseason contests – will also be broadcast on AM 1290 KZSB, the Santa Barbara News-Press Radio Station. Gerry Fall will be calling the play-by-play while Mark Patton will cover the color commentary. Fans can listen online here.
• For The Record
UCSB carries a 14-5-1 overall record into Saturday's match. The Gauchos ended their regular season Big West slate with a 6-4 record, marking their 11th consecutive winning Big West season and the 11th straight season with a top-two finish in league.
• We're Going Streaking
The Gauchos extended their current win streak to five games on Wednesday, marking a season-best. The last time the program compiled that many consecutive wins was last season when UCSB went on a seven-game run (Oct. 2 thru Oct. 23, 2010).
• What's At Stake
The winner of Saturday's match will receive the Big West's automatic berth into the 2011 NCAA Tournament in addition to conference bragging rights. The loser of the game, however, will not be sweating it out come selections as both teams rank in the top-10 of the NCAA's latest Rating Percentage Index (RPI), which helps guide the selection and seeding of the 48-team NCAA Tournament. UCSB was ranked 10th as of Tuesday while UC Irvine was eighth.
• Selection Monday
Speaking of the NCAA Tournament, the NCAA will announce the tournament field for its 2011 Men's Soccer Championship on Monday, Nov. 14 at 1:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.
• Offensive Behavior
The Gaucho offense ranks as one of the best in the nation and in the Big West. The Gauchos are second among all Division I programs with their 45 goals and rank seventh in scoring offense with 2.25 goals per game. UCSB also leads the Big West in points (127), goals and goals per game. In conference play, the Gauchos led all teams with 68 points, 24 goals, 2.40 goals per game, 20 assists and 2.0 assists per game. The 2011 squad is ranked seventh in the UCSB record book in goals scored in a season.
• Sam I Am
Junior Sam Garza helped lead UCSB to its semifinal victory over UC Davis on Wednesday, scoring on a penalty kick in the 17th minute and then assisting David Opoku's game-winner in the 61st. The forward is second on the team in points with 20 (8 goals, 4 assists) and has scored six of his goals in the last nine games. The Highland Village, Texas native has recorded a goal or an assist in eight of the last nine contests. Garza leads the Big West in shots with 72 this season and is second in shots per game with an average of 3.68. In just two seasons with UCSB, the forward already ranks 10th in the Gaucho record book with 149 career shots.
• Honors Continue To Roll In For Silva
For the second consecutive week, Luis Silva has been named the Big West Offensive Player of the Week and has been placed on the Top Drawer Soccer and College Soccer News Teams of the Week. The senior was also named the SoccerSavings.com/LA Soccer News College Player of the Week. Silva scored in each of the Gauchos' wins last week and also provided the shot that led to the game-winning own goal in the 3-2 overtime victory at Cal State Northridge. This marks his fourth week being honored by the Big West and College Soccer News. It his third time being named to the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week.
• A Little More On Luis
Silva is first in the Big West in points (38), points per game (2.00), goals (15) and goals per game (.79). He is tied for second in assists (8) and is third in assists per game (0.42). The senior is fifth among all Division I players in total points, eighth in goals, ninth in points per game, 10th in goals per game, 13th in total assists and 23rd in assists per game. Silva is busy making his mark in the UCSB record books this season as he currently ranks fourth in career matches (85), fifth in goals in a season (15) and career points (73), sixth in points in a season (38) and career shots (189), seventh in career assists (21) and eighth in career goals (26). He saw his career-best five-game scoring streak snapped against UC Davis. Silva is one of just four Gauchos to ever score in five straight contests.
• Big David's Big Goal
Sophomore David Opoku netted his team-leading fourth game-winner against UC Davis. The forward is tied for second on the team with Sam Garza in goals (8) and is third in points (18). He is tied for third in the Big West in goals and goals per game (0.40).
• Getting Dom-inated
Sophomore transfer Dom Sarle has been an incredible addition to the Gaucho offense this season. He is tied with Luis Silva for first on the team with eight assists and is fourth with 12 total points. He is tied second in the Big West in assists and is fourth in assists per game (0.40). Nationally, he ranks 13th in assists and 32nd in assists per game.
• André The Giant
Junior goalkeeper André Grandt is anchoring a Gaucho defense that has seen more than its fair share of season-ending injuries. He has played every minute in the goal and has compiled seven shutouts. Grandt has posted a 1.26 goals against average and owns a .687 saves percentage.
• Pulse On The Polls
With consecutive wins last week, the Gauchos continued to move up in the national polls. Soccer America has UCSB ranked No. 13, Top Drawer Soccer and College Soccer News have the Gauchos at No. 14 and Soccer Times and the NSCAA have them at No. 15.
• Working Overtime
Should Saturday's game go into extra time, the Gauchos may be at an advantage. UCSB is undefeated in overtime this year, compiling a 4-0-1 record this season in games extending past 90 minutes. The Anteaters, meanwhile, have gone 3-1-1 in overtime games this season and three of their last six games have extended into extra minutes.
• Tale Of Two Halves
UCSB has allowed 26 goals this season and 20 of those have been in the second half. The Gauchos have allowed just six first half goals. As for their output, the Gauchos are almost evenly split with 20 goals in the first half and 21 scored in the second. UC Irvine sports similar numbers having allowed just six first half goals and 13 in the second.
• So We Meet Again
As mentioned previously, this is the third time the Gauchos and Anteaters will face off in the Big West Tournament final. UC Irvine came out on top in both of the prior meetings, taking the title in 2008 with a 4-2 win at home and again in 2009 with a 4-1 victory at Harder Stadium. The two teams have met just once this season and UCI came away with a 2-0 victory (Oct. 1). The last time they met at Anteater Stadium was on Oct. 20, 2010 when they settled for a 0-0 tie.