UCSB Opens Big West Action this Week

Brandon Brockway (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Brandon Brockway (Photo by Tony Mastres)

Weekly Release No. 6

• The Schedule 

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.
No. 3 UC Santa Barbara (6-0-2) at No. 24 UC Riverside (7-1-0)
at UC Riverside Soccer Stadium
All-time record vs. Highlanders: 21-4-1
Last meeting: L, 3-2 (Oct. 22, 2011)
Audio • Live Stats

Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.
No. 3 UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Fullerton (4-6)
at Titan Stadium
All-time record vs. Titans: 28-3-2
Last meeting: W, 4-3 (Oct. 29, 2011)
Audio • Live Stats • Video

• Welcome to the Wild, Wild (Big) West!
The third-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team will open its 2012 Big West campaign this week when it travels to No. 24 UC Riverside on Friday evening for an 8 p.m. match up. The Gauchos will face Cal State Fullerton on the road on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

• Watch or Listen Live
Both of this week's games will be broadcast live on KZSB AM 1290, the Santa Barbara News-Press radio station. The Voice of the Gauchos, Gerry Fall, will be on hand to call all of the action. The broadcast can will also be streamed online here. In addition to the radio broadcast, a video stream of Sunday's match will be provided by Cal State Fullerton. Click here for the link. 

• For The Record
UCSB remains unbeaten this season with a 6-0-2 record. The last time the Gauchos went undefeated through their first eight games was in 2004 when they posted an 8-0 record to start the year. That team played 12 matches before suffering its first loss of the year. Currently, UCSB is one of 12 teams in the country that has remained undefeated and is the only West Coast program that has yet to suffer a loss. 

• Pulse on the Polls
UCSB has maintained its No. 3 ranking this week in both the NSCAA and Soccer Times national polls. The Gauchos also held on in the TopDrawerSoccer.com and Soccer America polls, ranking fifth in both for consecutive weeks. In College Soccer News' poll, UCSB has moved up two spots from last week to No. 7. Regionally, UCSB ranks No. 1 in the NSCAA's Far West rankings. UC Riverside is the second ranked opponent – following UCLA – that the Gauchos will face this season. The Highlanders are ranked 24th by both the NSCAA and College Soccer News, while ranking No. 5 in the Far West. 

• Gauchos Know Goals
UCSB is currently tied for the conference lead with Friday's opponent UC Riverside in goals per game with an average of 2.50, which ranks 10th nationally. The Gauchos have scored at least one goal in their last 21 games dating back to the 2011 season. In 14 of the last 17 games, the Gauchos have scored multiple goals. UCLA and Harvard are the first two teams this season to limit UCSB to a single goal.  

• Mansker Gathers Weekly Honors
UCSB goalkeeper Austin Mansker garnered Big West Defensive Player of the Week honors for his part in keeping the Gauchos undefeated through the weekend. After limiting UCLA to just one goal in Friday's nationally televised 1-1 tie, the freshman posted his third shutout of the year against Harvard. Both teams managed just one shot on-frame against Santa Barbara and Mansker had to make just one save against the Crimson. What the statistics don't show, however, are the numerous catches and punches that Mansker made on set pieces that were critical to both of UCSB's results. The honor is the first for the freshman and the first weekly Big West accolade for a Gaucho this season. 

• Getting Defensive
While on the subject of the Gaucho defense, it is notable that UCSB currently ranks second in the Big West in goals against average (0.83) and goals allowed (7). Riverside leads the league in both categories, holding a 0.74 GAA after allowing just six goals. 

• The Series
While the Gauchos enter Friday's contest with the Highlanders leading the all-time series, 21-4-1, they are amidst a two-game losing streak against UCR after dropping both of last season's pairings with the team. Against Fullerton, the Gauchos have won the last four match-ups and own a 28-3-2 all-time record. 

• Javier for the Win
Junior Javier Castro provided the game-winning header in Sunday's 1-0 victory over Harvard in the 14th minute. The goal was his third of the season and second game-winner, which ties Nic Ryan for the team lead. Castro's first game-winner was against Seattle and he also provided the game-winning assist against Valparaiso. Castro is tied for second on the team with seven points this season (3 goals, 1 assist).