No. 17 UCSB Closes Out Non-Conference Schedule With Back-to-School Game Against Cal

Randy Mendoza (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Randy Mendoza (photo by Eric Isaacs)

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• The Schedule
Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7:05 p.m. PDT
No. 17 UC Santa Barbara vs. California (3-2-1)
Harder Stadium
All-time record vs the Golden Bears: 11-17-3
Record vs. Cal in Vom Steeg era: 2-5-0
Last meeting: Cal 2-1 UCSB (2nd rd of 2010 NCAA Tournament @ Cal)
UCSB Form: W L L L L
Cal Form: W L L W W

Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7:00 p.m. PDT
No. 17 UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Riverside (4-3-0)
UCR Soccer Stadium
All-time record vs. the Highlanders: 24-4-2
Record vs. UCR in Vom Steeg era: 19-3-2
Last meeting: UCSB 2-0 UCR (10/8/15 @ UCSB)
UCSB form: W L L L L
UCR form: L L L W W

• Video Stream Available
UCSBGauchos.com will offer a live video broadcast of Saturday night's contest against Cal through Big West TV. Gerry Fall, Voice of the Gauchos, will be on hand for play-by-play duty. A link to the broadcast can be found on the UCSB men's soccer schedule page or by clicking here

• Get Your Tickets Now!
Don't miss out on exciting UCSB soccer action, get your tickets today! Season and individual game tickets can be purchased by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 805-893 UCSB. Fans can shop online for tickets by clicking here

• Rankings Update
UCSB enters Saturday night's contest ranked in all four major national polls, including a top ranking of No. 17 (Soccer America). The Gauchos also check in at No. 18 (Top Drawer), No. 22 (College Soccer News), No. 25 (NSCAA). Tim Vom Steeg's squad is the sixth-highest ranked team in the Far West Region, one spot behind Cal, and the only team ranked in the Big West.

• Back to School

Saturday's game against the Bears will be the first game for UCSB after the start of fall quarter, continuing a  tradition of exciting back-to-school matchups. The Gauchos have drawn at least 5,000 fans to the back-to-school game for six straight years, and past marquee opponents include Stanford, UCLA, and Akron. The 2010 game against the Bruins drew an NCAA-record 15,896 fans through the gate as UCSB prevailed 2-0.

• Harder Fortress

Though the Gauchos have lost two straight at home, they still have one of the biggest home field advantages in college soccer. Since the start of the 2009 campaign, UCSB is 58-20-7 on its home turf for a .724 winning percentage, a tick below the program's .741 mark (132-40-19) in the Tim Vom Steeg era (since 1999). The Gauchos are also 12-2 all-time at home in the NCAA Tournament.

• Feucht On a Tear
An All-Big West First Team and All-Region selection as a sophomore, midfielder Kevin Feucht is taking his game to new levels this season as he ranks first on the Gaucho roster with five goals and 12 points. His dozen points also rank first among all players in the Big West, while he is just one score behind Cal State Fullerton's Alex Heilmann for the conference lead in goals. The German national has goals in the past two games and points in five of the last seven contests despite playing as a holding midfielder.

• In the Run of Play
Most impressive about Feucht's five goals is the fact that all but one of them have come from the run of play. The junior had six goals a year ago, but four of those came from the penalty spot. He is 1-2 on penalty kicks so far this year.

• España, El Maestro

Another Gaucho veteran off to a strong start in 2016 is attacking midfielder Josue España, who started the year on the right side but has moved more central with the loss of Daniel Amo. The Pasadena native is alone atop the Big West leaderboard with four assists, including one against LMU. After scoring three goals against Westmont and Oakland to open the season, he has picked up four assists in the last six games.

• The Week in Review
Returning home for a pair of game against solid west coast programs UCLA and Loyola Marymount, the Gauchos suffered a pair of heartbreaking losses to extend their losing streak to four, the longest for the program since 2000. UCSB led for the majority of the contest against the Bruins via a 14th minute breakaway goal for Kevin Feucht, but UCLA equalized on a free kick after a controversial decision by the referee stopped the clock with three seconds left in regulation. Jackson Yueill netted in overtime to snatch the win for UCLA. Against the Lions, UCSB battled back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2, but a wild sequence that saw three goals scored in two and a half minutes late in the game put LMU on top 4-3. All four of Loyola's goals came on set pieces while the Gauchos dropped a game where Nick DePuy scored for the first time in school history. They were previously 18-0-3 in such games.

• History with the Golden Bears
Facing off with Cal for the first time since the 2010 NCAA Tournament, UCSB will be looking to exact revenge against a team responsible for eliminating the Gauchos from the postseason on three separate occassions. UCSB will also be looking for its first win over Cal since 2003, and this is the first time the Bears have been to Harder for a regular season game since opening day 2005.

• On Top of the Big West
Through the first month of the season, UCSB is at or near the top of the Big West in practically every team statistic. The Gauchos lead the league in total and average goals, assists, points, and shots. Besides Feucht (points) and España (assists), UCSB has an additional leader in an individual statistics: Titouan Le Roux who leads all conference goalkeepers with 728:58 minutes between the sticks.

• Big West Respect
UCSB was selected unanimously to repeat as Big West North Division Champions and three Gauchos were named to the 11-man Preseason All-Conference Team when the league unveiled the results of the 2016 Preseason Coaches Poll. The Gauchos received all eight first place votes and totaled 32 points, more than any other Big West squad. Cal State Fullerton was tabbed to win the South Division. DePuy, Kevin Feucht, and forward Ahinga Selemani placed on the Preseason All-Big West Team.

• DePuy's Preseason Publicity
It was a busy offseason for Nick DePuy, who garnered a number of preseason awards. The senior striker was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, received a College Soccer News Preseason All-America honor, was listed as the top "senior poised for a big year," and was named the 2015-16 UCSB Male Athlete of the Year on top of his selection to the Preseason All-Big West Team.

• DePuy in a Few
There is a clear reason Nick DePuy is one of the most hyped seniors in college soccer this year, as the striker is coming off a historic junior campaign. In 2015, he led all NCAA players with 15 regular season goals and eight game-winners, he led the Big West in goals and points (31) by a wide margin, and he received a litany of postseason awards including First Team All-America, Big West Offensive Player of the Year, and Mac Hermanny Trophy Semifinalist honors. This season he has three goals, fourth-most among Big West players.

• Pair of Gauchos Named to Top Drawer's Top-100
Before the season, both Nick DePuy (No. 26) and Kevin Feucht (67) were listed on Top Drawer's Preseason Top-100 men's player rankings. They were the only two players in the Big West to be ranked.

• Vom Steeg Cited as Top Coach by Top Drawer
In early September, UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg was cited in Top Drawer Soccer's list of the "Ten Top Men's Division I college coaches."The article cites his ability to build strong teams, recruit competitively, and contend for national titles every year while providing a "professional environment" at home games.

• Billingsley Coming On Strong
Freshman attacker Noah Billingsley was named to the Starting XI against both UCLA and LMU – the first time this season he has started consecutive games – and the New Zealand native has made the most of his increased playing time. Playing up top with Nick DePuy and Ahinga Selemani, he set up Kevin Feucht's goal against UCLA with a beautiful through ball that led to a breakway for his first NCAA assist and point. He grabbed his first collegiate goal a few days later against the Lions, knocking home a rebound of an España shot.  

• Parking Advisory
UCSB soccer patrons should be advised that due to construction, parking for all games at Harder Stadium this season will be affected. With the temporary closure of Lot 38 adjacent to Harder Stadium, fans will be directed to park their vehicles at Lot 22 (structure adjacent to Thunderdome), Lot 25 (Student Health), and Lot 27 (main Thunderdome lot). Signage with directions to appropriate lots will be posted throughout campus on gamedays.