Gauchos Set to Reignite Blue-Green Rivalry with Cal Poly on Friday Night

Nick DePuy (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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• The Schedule
Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
No. 17 UC Santa Barbara at Cal Poly (9-6-1, 2-3-1)
at Alex G. Spanos Stadium in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Overall record vs. the Mustangs: 43-17-5
Last meeting: L, 1-0 (11/3/12 @ Cal Poly)
UCSB Streak/Form: Won 7/WWWWW
UCSB Streak vs. Cal Poly: Lost 2
Cal Poly Streak/Form: Tied 1/LLLWT
Free online audio broadcast available at UCSBgauchos.com

• The Week in Review
UCSB got off to a great start in Big West North play, defeating UC Davis on the road on Saturday before downing Sacramento State at home on Tuesday. After Drew Murphy's first career goal put the Gauchos up 1-0 in the first half at Davis, the Aggies were able to get two goals in the early part of the second. Achille Campion then earned and converted a penalty kick in the last minute of regulation to send the game to overtime, where Murphy hooked up with Goffin Boyoko for a headed-in golden goal. Tuesday's 2-1 win was all Ismaila Jome: his first half work down the left wing created a Boyoko goal to open the scoring, then his tenacious defense and a couple nice moves allowed him to steal a clearance attempt and shoot past the keeper.

• Going Streaking
UCSB's current seven game win streak is its longest since 2010, when the Gauchos reeled off seven straight as well. With a win over Cal Poly, UCSB will have won eight straight for the first time since 2004. With a 6-0 Big West record, the Gauchos are off to their best ever start in conference play. It is the team's first six game win streak in conference play since 2010. UCSB has had only one seven game conference winning streak in program history, as the team accomplished the feat in 2002 en route to a 9-0-1 Big West record. Additionally, a win over Cal Poly will give UCSB its first calendar month without a loss since Nov. 2004.

• Offense Clicking Into Gear
After averaging just 1.22 goals per game over the first nine games of the season, the UCSB offense has found their mojo over the last six games, averaging 2.14 goals a match. The Gauchos have scored multiple goals in each of their last six matchups.

• Drew Murphy Picks Up Conference, National Honors
Drew Murphy was named the Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week this past Monday, giving the Gauchos a weekly award recipient for the third consecutive week, following Peter Schmetz and Josh McNeely in the two weeks prior. Murphy's first career goal opened the scoring at UC Davis, and his team-leading seventh assist off a corner kick in double OT gave the Gauchos a third consecutive extra time win. Entering the week, Murphy led the conference and was 11th nationwide in total assists (seven) while ranking second in the Big West in points in conference play (seven). He was also named to Top Drawer Soccer's National Team of the Week.

• Poll Vaulting
Entering the week, the Gauchos were ranked No. 2 in the NCAA's RPI rankings. That is believed to be the highest RPI ranking in program history. The RPI is used by the NCAA to determine NCAA Tournament seeding and at-large selections.

• See You in the Postseason
With their win over Sacramento State on Tuesday night, the Gauchos were the first team in the conference to clinch a spot in the upcoming Big West Tournament. With that clinch, UCSB assured itself of  postseason play for the 11th time in the past 12 seasons. The Gauchos need just two points over their last four regular season games to wrap up the top spot in the North Division, securing a bye in the first round of the conference tournament and hosting honors for the semifinals.

• Gauchos Get Goals
Entering the week, UCSB was ranked among the top-30 nationwide in both goals (29th) and assists (20th). Not surprisingly, this has led to the 22nd best winning percentage in the NCAA. Meanwhile, Friday's opponent Cal Poly enters Friday night with the most goals of any team in the country (36).

• The Blue-Green Rivalry
The nation's best men's soccer rivalry is set to resume this Friday at Spanos Stadium. Cal Poly currently leads the 2013-14 Blue-Green Rivalry 2-1 after picking up two points at the cross country Lagoon Run. A UCSB women's volleyball win at the Thunderdome on Oct. 5 brought the Gauchos back within one. UCSB can move ahead this weekend as both the men's and women's soccer teams are set to face off against the Mustangs. Last year, Cal Poly swept the season series from Tim Vom Steeg's squad for the first time since 2000, when the Mustangs won the only matchup between the two teams that year. UCSB-Cal Poly games have produced some of the biggest crowds in NCAA history, including seven of the 12 highest attended regular season, on-campus games all-time. Last year's matchup at Harder Stadium drew 13,467 fans, the highest attendance for any match nationwide, while the Gauchos-Mustangs clash at Cal Poly, which drew 11,705 fans, took the No. 2 spot. Cal Poly is anticipating a sellout for Friday's match. The two teams will wrap up their season series on Nov. 9 at Harder Stadium in a game televised by Fox Sports West. To learn more about the Blue-Green Rivalry and to follow all the action, check out the offical rivalry website here.

• Boyoko Back in Form
After going four straight games without a goal, Goffin Boyoko has now found the net in back to back appearances. With a conference-best four game-winning goals under his belt, the Gauchos are a perfect 5-0 when Boyoko scores. The striker is now tied with his compatriot Achille Campion for the team lead in goals with six. His seven shots and three shots on frame against the Hornets were both season-highs by a Gaucho this season.

• Jome Takes Over Against the Hornets
Freshman forward Ismaila Jome's one goal, one assist performance against Sacramento State snapped a three-game pointless streak. Before the skid, he had recorded points in three straight games and five of seven overall. Jome currently ranks second with six assists and third with 10 points among Gaucho players.

• Right Side of the Ledger
With Tuesday's win over Sacramento State, the Gauchos ensured that they will finish the year with a winning record, giving the program 13 consecutive seasons above .500. UCSB has now produced 33 winning seasons in 48 years as a program. Last Saturday's win over UC Davis gave the Gauchos double-digit wins for the 13th consecutive time as well. UCSB has managed double digit wins and an above .500 record in every year under Tim Vom Steeg except one (2000, 8-10-1).

• On the Road Again
Sporting a 5-1 record in road contests, the Gauchos are on pace to finish the season with their best away mark since 2004, when the Gauchos went 11-2-1 outside of Harder Stadium. UCSB has found a way to win close games on the road this year, as all but one away contest this season has been decided by one goal. Goffin Boyoko has thrived in away games, netting a team-high four goals in six appearances. Achille Campion (three goals, seven points) and Drew Murphy (one goal, six points) have also done well away from home. The Gauchos have also been an impressive draw on the road, as the opposition is averaging 1,111 fans per game in matches featuring UCSB.

• McNeely Gets It Done Between the Pipes
Freshman goalkeeper Josh McNeely is in the midst of a historic season in the cage. The Calabasas, Calif. native is currently on pace to set program freshman records across the board in appearances, minutes, saves, shutouts, goals against average, and save percentage. Going into Friday night's matchup, his GAA of 0.80 leads the conference (and is 33rd best in the NCAA), while his .780 save percentage ranks second, just .006 behind leader Cesar Castillo of Sacramento State.

• Keeping It Close
One of the reason's the Blue-Green men's soccer rivalry has been called the best in the nation is how close the games have been in the recent past. Of the last 12 matchups, all but one has been decided by one goal or has been a draw. UCSB has a record of 7-3 in one-goal contests so far in 2013, while Cal Poly  has a record of 3-3-1.

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