Gauchos Battle Cal Poly for Division Title on Prime Ticket

Kevin Feucht (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Kevin Feucht (photo by Eric Isaacs)

Full release in PDF format

• The Schedule
Saturday, Oct. 22 at 8:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal Poly (3-9-2, 1-5-1)
Harder Stadium

TV: FOX Sports Prime Ticket and Fox Sports Go
All-time record vs. the Mustangs: 46-18-8
Record vs. CP in Vom Steeg era: 23-7-6
Last meeting: UCSB 2-1 CP (10/15/16 @ CP)
2015 series: UCSB goes 0-1-1 against CP
UCSB form: W W T W W
CP form: T L W L L

• Next Up
This Saturday, UCSB will battle Blue-Green rival Cal Poly at 8:00 p.m. at Harder Stadium. The match will be televised live by FOX Sports Prime Ticket for a fourth straight year. Mark Rogondino (play-by-play) and Eric Wynalda (color) return for this year's broadcast, joined by sideline reporter Courtney Sweet. The broadcast can also be streamed live on compatible computers and smartphones via FoxSportsGo.com and the Fox Sports Go app. UCSBGauchos.com will carry a live audio broadcast of the game, with Voice of the Gauchos Gerry Fall on the mic. 

• Watch the Gauchos Here!
A link to the FOX Sports broadcast can be found here. A link to Gerry Fall's radio broadcast is available here. Links to both can also be found at the top of this release or on the UCSB men's soccer schedule page. Channel listings for Prime Ticket are below. 

FOX Sports Prime Ticket

Cox Cable: Channel 36 (Standard Definition) / Channel 1036 (HD)
DISH TV:  Channel 693

• Week in Review
UCSB has continued its hot play over the last week, grabbing a pair of come-from-behind road wins over division rivals. First, Ahinga Selemani erased a 1-0 deficit at a rainy Cal Poly on Saturday, stealing the ball from a trio of defenders in the box after a failed clearance then finishing low past the keeper. Kevin Feucht earned a PK in the second half, then converted the spot kick for the game-winning goal. At UC Davis on Wednesday, the Gauchos shook off a poor first half with a solid offensive showing in the second, resulting in a Feucht equalizer with 12 minutes to go in regulation. Just 2:18 into overtime, Nick DePuy ran down a Dalton Pando through ball then slotted low past UCD keeper Armando Quezada for the golden goal.

• Red-Hot Gauchos
It appears that UCSB has completely moved past its five-game slide from September, as the Gauchos enter the weekend on a seven-game unbeaten streak, the longest for the program since 2013 (11 games). Paired with the four-game win streak to open the season, 2016 is just the second year in the past five where UCSB has strung together multiple four-game unbeaten streaks.

• Playoff Bound
With Wednesday's overtime winner in Davis, UCSB clinched a spot in the Big West Tournament. That means the Gauchos will be playing postseason soccer for the 14th time in the past 15 years.

• Clashing With Cal Poly
This is the return game in the Blue-Green Rivalry, with UCSB scoring a rare win at Spanos Stadium last weekend. The Gauchos have a solid .722 winning percentage against the Mustangs in the Vom Steeg era, and they've been especially diligent at home, going 14-1-2 against Cal Poly at Harder since 1999 (lone loss: 2012). With Cal Poly going winless on the road so far this season, the Gauchos have a great chance of sweeping the season series for the first time since 2006, which is coincidentally the year of UCSB's National Championship.

• Division Title In Sight
Besides clinching a postseason spot, UCSB's Wednesday victory also put them in the driver's seat for a fourth consecutive Big West North Division title. Seven points clear of second place Sacramento State with three games to go, the Gauchos will clinch the division crown with their next victory or Sac State loss.

• Selemani Grabs Pair of Weekly Honors
After scoring in each of UCSB's games last week, forward Ahinga Selemani was named to the College Soccer News Team of the Week while repeating as the Big West Offensive Player of the Week. The Ann Arbor, Mich. native potted the opener just six minutes into the tilt with the Sacramento State, finishing off a deflected through ball from Nick DePuy. Then against the Mustangs, he took advantage of a failed clearance by snatching the ball from a trio of CP defenders before finishing low to the keeper's left for a 33rd minute equalizer, setting the stage for Kevin Feucht's 63 minute PK winner.

• Crashing the Gates
Another big crowd is expected at Harder Stadium on Saturday, meaning the Gaucho-Mustang series will once again put a dent in the NCAA attendance record book. Last year's game at Harder Stadium drew a crowd of 14,919 that ranks second all-time for regular season on-campus NCAA games. The two annual UCSB-Cal Poly games have been the two-highest attended games in NCAA soccer in each of the past four years, and Gaucho-Mustang battles now comprise 14 of the top 20 regular season, on-campus draws in NCAA men's soccer history. The UCSB game at Spanos has sold out in six consecutive years. Over the past six years, a total of 135,808 fans have witnessed UCSB-Cal Poly games, either at Harder Stadium or Spanos Stadium in San Luis Obispo, a total that dwarfs any other pairing of programs in the entire country.

• Fighting For Top Spot
UCSB's strong week has coincided with a two-game losing streak for UC Riverside, the top team in the South Division. Thus, the Gauchos have created a little space (four points) in the race for the Big West regular season championship. The Gauchos can wrap up the conference regular season crown with one more win AND one UC Riverside loss over the final three games of the campaign. Should that happen, UCSB will claim its 10th regular season championship in 15 years since the Big West reinstituted men's soccer in 2002.

• Feucht on a Roll
After a season-long streak of three games without a point, Kevin Feucht has now scored a goal in back-to-back contests, giving him 10 on the year. That figures ranks 10th in the nation and leads both the team and the Big West. His 22 points also leads all conference players, and he has recorded at least one point in 10 of the team's 16 games. A strong defensive player as well, the box-to-box beast has been on the field for all but 35 of UCSB's 1,498 minutes of action this season (98%). Most impressively, he has been about as clutch as possible, with eight of his 10 goals either putting the Gauchos ahead or tying the game. He scored a goal in five straight games from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, becoming the sixth Gaucho ever to accomplish that feat.

• Amo Returns
One of the most encouraging aspects of UCSB's win over UC Davis was the return of freshman Daniel Amo, who was thought lost for the season after picking up a groin injury against UCLA on Sept. 17. The midfielder/defender saw 58 minutes of action against the Aggies on the left side. He has two goals – including the team's first of the year back on Aug. 26 – and one assist in eight games as a true freshman.

• Can't Be Stopped
The two-time defending Big West Offensive Player of the Week, Ahinga Selemani has been near unstoppable recently, recording a point in a career-best five straight games. He recorded a goal in four straight games before Wednesday's game, becoming the second Gaucho this season to score in four straight (Feucht) and the third in the past two seasons (Nick DePuy). Though he didn't find the back of the net against UC Davis, he set up Feucht's equalizer with a nice chip to the back post from deep on the right side of the box. His six goals this season, a career high, are tied with DePuy for fourth most in the conference.

• Big Three
UCSB's veteran core – DePuy, Selemani, and Feucht – has accounted for 22 of the team's 29 goals this season (76%), including the last six straight. They are three of the Big West's top five goalkscorers this season. A trio of UCSB newcomers account for six of the team's other goals (Daniel Amo, Noah Billingsley, Dalton Pando with two apiece) while senior midfielder Josue Espana has the final tally.

• DePuy Gets Goals
Nick DePuy's golden goal against the Aggies was nothing new, as that was the 16th game-winning goal of his career, a figure which ranks second in UCSB history and third in Big West annals. In addition, the score was the 31st total of his career, moving him into a tie for fourth place in UCSB lore and seventh-place in conference history alongside former Gaucho great Rob Friend. In addition, his four career Big West weekly awards are tied with UCSB legend Luis Silva for the most in the history of the league.

• DePuy In A Few
A 2015 All-American and MAC Hermann Semifinalist after leading the country with 15 regular season goals and eight game-winners, senior forward Nick DePuy was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List before the season. DePuy leads the Big West this year with a 3.19 shots per game average, and he has notched six goals despite drawing heavy coverage to give him 31 for his career. All-time, UCSB is 19-2-6 when DePuy records a point.

• Harder Fortress
Despite the fact that this season UCSB is on pace for a better road record than home record for one of the first times in program history, Harder Stadium has still been an extremely difficult place for opponents to play in recent history. Since 2009, the Gauchos have gone 60-21-8 on their home pitch (.719 winning percentage), and they've lost just twice all-time in 14 home NCAA Tournament games.

• Offense Clicking
Through the first two months of the season, UCSB has proven itself as one of the more dynamic offensive units around, as the Gauchos have scored more goals (29), produced more assists (27), and totaled more points (85) than any other Big West team. UCSB also leads the conference with a 13.6 shot per game average. The Gauchos are top-10 nationally in both goals (ninth) and points (seventh).

• Confident in Conference Play
UCSB has been dominant in conference play over the past three-plus seasons, accruing a 25-4-8 record  and taking home the regular season title each year. The Gauchos' 83 combined points in league play over that span are easily the most of any Big West school, with all other teams racking up between 37 and 52 points.

• Defense Improving
Though UCSB ranks middle of the pack with a 1.50 GAA for the season, the Gauchos have improved their defensive numbers in conference play, allowing only six goals for a 0.94 GAA that ranks second in the league. After the 2-1 win over Davis, UCSB has now allowed one goal or fewer in a season-best six straight games.

• Perfect 10
UCSB's next win will give the squad 10 wins on the season, making it 16 straight years the program has reached double-digit victories. The Gaucho men's soccer program had just five 10+ win seasons in the books when Tim Vom Steeg was hired in 1999.

• Le Roux Putting in Work
Just a freshman, goalie Titouan Le Roux has had one of the heaviest workloads in Division I soccer, totaling 1498:12 minutes on the pitch, the second-highest figure in the country, trailing only conference-mate Vincent Morales (1501:54) of UC Riverside. The French national has been between the sticks for every minute of UCSB's season, and ranks second in the league with a 0.94 GAA in conference action.

• Quartet of Gauchos Named to Top Drawer Soccer Freshman Top-100
Four UCSB players were named to the midseason Top Drawer Soccer Freshman Top-100 on Oct. 17. Daniel Amo (No. 20) was the top-ranked Gaucho, followed by Noah Billingsley (No. 61), Titouan Le Roux (No. 81), and Mateo Restrepo Mejia (No. 91). UCSB was the only Big West team with a player on the list.

• Drama Majors
The Gauchos have shown a penchant for drama over the past month-plus, going to overtime in six of their past 10 games after reaching extra time just once in their opening six contests. UCSB has gone 7-3 this season in one-goal games, with the three losses coming in three straight games from Sept. 17-24, including a controversial loss to UCLA and an overtime heartbreaker against Cal.

• Feucht and DePuy Land on Top Drawer Top-100
Feucht and DePuy, UCSB's two players on the Top Drawer Preseason Top-100 player rankings, both maintained their place on the list with this week's midseason update. DePuy came in at No. 40 while Feucht was tabbed at No. 70. They were the two highest-rated players in the conference.

• Batista Breaks Out
A true freshman out of Oklahoma, Lamar Batista has emerged as one of the team's most talented defenders, starting seven of the last eight games (he missed one due to a red card suspension) as a center back or defensive mid. His 6-5 frame allows him to make up ground quickly on any player who gets by him, and he has chipped in on offense as well. He split a pair of center backs with a long ball out of the back to set up a Selemani breakaway goal against CSUN on Oct. 8, and his tackle in overtime against UC Davis started the counter that led to DePuy's game-winner.

• Storming the South
Earlier this season, UCSB completed an undefeated run through the Big West South portion of its schedule. That should not come as news to Gaucho fans, as the blue-and-gold have accrued a 15-2-3 record against South opponents since the Big West switched to divisional play in 2012, the best inter-divisional record of any school in the league over that span.

• Big West Respect
UCSB was a unanimous pick to repeat as Big West North champs in the 2016 Preseason Coaches Poll. A trio of Gauchos (DePuy, Feucht, Selemani) were also selected to the 11-man Preseason All-League Team.