No. 21 Gauchos Ready for Cal Poly Rematch on Prime Ticket

Josue España, pictured, will be key to UCSB's success upon his return to the lineup on Saturday night.
Josue España, pictured, will be key to UCSB's success upon his return to the lineup on Saturday night.

Full release in PDF format

• The Schedule
Saturday, Oct. 24 at 7:00 p.m.
No. 21 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 20 Cal Poly (9-3-3, 4-1-2)
Meredith Field at Harder Stadium
CP form:  T W L W W (3-1-1)
All-time record vs the Mustangs: 45-18-7
2014 series: UCSB went 1-0-1 in two meetings w/ Cal Poly
Last meeting: CP 3-2 UCSB (2 OT, 10/17/15 @ CP)

• Fox Sports Prime Ticket to Televise Saturday's Affair
For the third consecutive year, Prime Ticket will televise the annual UC Santa Barbara-Cal Poly matchup at Harder Stadium. Mark Rogondino will return to do play-by-play, with Brian Dunseth on color. Prime Ticket can be viewed locally on Cox Cable channels 36 and 1036 (standard definition and HD, respectively), DirecTV channel 693, and Dish Network channel 411.

• to Carry Live Audio Broadcast will carry a live audio stream of Saturday's battle against the Mustangs, with Voice of the Gauchos Gerry Fall providing play by play. A link to the stream can be found on the men's soccer schedule page or at the top of this release.

• The Week in Review
UCSB has split a pair of games over the last seven days, dropping a double-overtime heartbreaker at Cal Poly on Saturday and then recovering to defeat UC Davis at home on Wednesday night. In front of a sellout crowd of 11,075 at Spanos Stadium, the teams traded blows in a topsy-turvy first half that produced four goals and a 2-2 tie. Ismaila Jome opened the scoring for UCSB, curling a right footed shot into the corner of the net from 20 yards out. Seo-In Kim added an equalizer late in the first half. Despite controlling the run of play in the second half and overtime – Cal Poly went 28 minutes without a shot until the game-winner – Cody Wakasa headed in a corner kick in the 104th minute to grab the result for the Mustangs just moments after UCSB went a man down. A shorthanded Gaucho side did just enough to top the Aggies on Wednesday, powering through via a pair of penalty kick goals from Kevin Feucht. Freshman goalkeeper Justin Vom Steeg was excellent in the win, making five stops.

• Offense Firing on All Cylinders
Winners of six of their last eight, the Gauchos owe many of their results to an offense that has been producing among the best in the country, ranking first in the Big West and 10th in the NCAA in total goals (33). UCSB has scored multiple goals in eight consecutive games, the longest streak for the program since the 2011 Gauchos scored 2 or more in 12 straight games (10/5-11/20).

• It's True, He Ish Back
Though they recorded their first losing streak of the season last week, it wasn't all negative for the Gauchos, who welcomed back stud midfielder/wingback Ismaila Jome. After missing seven games with an ankle injury, he scored in consecutive games (at Sac St., at Cal Poly) for the first time in his career, equaling his career-high for goals in a season (2) in just one week. Most encouragingly for the left-footed winger, his strike against Cal Poly was a perfectly placed right-footed curler.

• Managing the Mustangs
During the Vom Steeg era, UCSB has decidedly had the upper hand in the UCSB-Cal Poly series, as the Gauchos have won or split the season series against Cal Poly in every year but one ('12) since 2001. The Mustangs have managed just one win at Harder Stadium since 1999.

• Big Crowd Expected
With the resumption of college soccer's best rivalry on Saturday, record crowds are once again expected to take in the Gaucho-Mustang battle. Since 1980, 12 of the 18 best-attended regular season NCAA matches have been UCSB-Cal Poly showdowns. Last year's battle on Prime Ticket was witnessed by 14,345 fans, the most in any collegiate game since an NCAA record 15,896 saw the Gauchos take down UCLA on Sept. 24, 2010. Each of the last eight meetings between the two squads has seen crowds in excess of 11,000 people. A UCSB-Cal Poly contest has been the single-highest attended regular season game in four consecutive NCAA seasons.

• RPI Report
Thanks to a tough schedule and big wins over non-conference opponents such as Stanford and UCLA, the Gauchos entered the week at No. 19 in the official NCAA RPI rankings. Cal Poly is right behind UCSB at No. 20.

• Assists for Acheampong
One of the most electrifying first-year players in the country, Preseason Freshman Best XI choice Geoffrey Acheampong leads the conference and ranks 10th nationwide with seven assists. He has recorded a goal or assist in eight of UCSB's past 11 games.

• Double Digits Again
With Wednesday's win over UC Davis, the Gauchos secured a 10-win season for the 15th consecutive year, extending a program record. UCSB has won 10 or more games in all but one of Tim Vom Steeg's 17 years in charge.

• Filling the House
After drawing over 42,000 fans into Harder Stadium last season, the Gauchos have now led the nation in attendance for eight consecutive years dating back to 2007. Overall, UCSB has the seven largest regular season crowds in the NCAA soccer annals since 1980, including a record 15,896 crowd against UCLA on Sept. 24, 2010. The squad has been involved in 16 of the 18 best-attended regular season matches in that same time frame, with 12 of those contests being played against Cal Poly.

• Smart Move, Coach
Since UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg decided to move DePuy up top for a contest against San Diego State on Sept. 26, 2014 – he scored the only goal in a 1-0 Gaucho win that day – no other player in the entire NCAA has more goals (21) or game-winning goals (13) than him. This season alone, DePuy leads the nation with seven game-winning scores. Most impressively, UCSB is an undefeated 15-0-3 all-time when DePuy scores a goal. He leads the Big West conference in goals (12) and points (25). On Oct. 12, he became the first player ever to win three consecutive Big West Offensive Player of the Week awards.

• Harder Fortress
Looking to solidify their playoff position and NCAA at-large bid chances, the Gauchos will be happy to play two of their final three regular season games at home, as the team has a .737 winning percentage at Harder Stadium since 2009 (53-17-6). UCSB hasn't lost a regular season conference game at home since Oct. 28, 2012. Only falling to then-No. 6 Akron at Harder, the Gauchos have the chance to record  one loss or fewer at home for the 19th time in program history and the seventh time in the Vom Steeg era.

• Poll Position
UCSB appeared in three national polls this week, checking in as high as No. 21 (Top Drawer Soccer). They also checked in at No. 22 (Soccer America) and No. 24 (College Soccer News) while receiving votes in the NSCAA poll. Cal Poly is ranked as high as No. 20 (Top Drawer). In the NSCAA regional rankings, the Gauchos were picked as the No. 6 team in the Far West while Cal Poly placed third.

• Dominating the Big West
Sitting at the top of the division standings with two weeks to go in the regular season, UCSB will look to continue its short-term and long-term dominance in Big West play. Over the past three seasons, the Gauchos are 18-4-5 in regular season Big West games, going an undefeated 7-0-3 in 2013 and 6-2-2 in 2014, both which resulted in North Division titles. In the 14 seasons since the Big West re-sponsored men's soccer, UCSB has won eight regular season conference championships, made 11 NCAA Tournament apperances, made two College Cup appearances, played for two national titles, and won the 2006 National Championship.

• Milestone Win
In a 2-0 win over UC Riverside in Oct. 8, Vom Steeg won his 100th Big West conference game, becoming the first coach in the league's history to do so. He enters Saturday's contest with an all-time record of 228-97-38 (.680 winning percentage) and a Big West record of 101-30-17 (.740 winning percentage).

• Hole in the Middle
UCSB will be without holding midfielder Kevin Feucht on Saturday due to yellow card accumulation. Feucht, UCSB's second-leading goalscorer, has found the back of the net four times in the past four games. Conversely, the Gauchos will welcome back offensive catalyst Josue Espana into the fold after the midfielder had to sit out Wednesday's contest due to being booked twice at Cal Poly.

• The North Prevails
With a combined record of 9-4-3 for 21 points in inter-divisional play, the North Division (UCSB, CP, UCD, Sac St.) has secured home field advantage in the upcoming Big West Tournament.

• Tournament Clinch on the Horizon
Sitting in first place with three games to go, the Gauchos (15 points) can clinch a spot in the Big West Tournament with their next win or Sacramento State's (seven points) next loss. Thus, UCSB is on the precipice of reaching the postseason for the 13th time in the past 14 seasons.