UCSB Begins Big West Play Thursday against Cal State Fullerton

Jonah Adomakoh (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Jonah Adomakoh (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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• The Schedule 
Thursday, Sept. 28 at 7:00 p.m. PDT 
UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal State Fullerton (5-3-1) 
All-time record vs. the Titans: 31-26-3 
Last meeting: Nov. 9, 2016 - CSF def. UCSB 2-1 
UCSB form: L L W W 
CSF form: W W T W 

Saturday, Sept. 30 at 7:00 p.m. PDT 
UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Riverside (0-7) 
All-time record vs. the Highlanders: 24-4-2 
Last meeting: Sept. 29, 2016 - UCSB 2, UCR 2 (2OT) 
UCSB form: L L W W 
UCR form: L L L L L 

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

•Ticket Information 
Season tickets and individual game tickets are available online here or call the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office at 805-893-UCSB (8272). 

• Gauchos Ground Pilots 
The Gauchos won their second straight match for the first time this season on Saturday as they topped a talented Portland team, 1-0. Ignacio Tellechea headed in the game-winner in the 69th minute on a cross from Noah Billingsley to push UCSB past the Pilots. Entering the match, Portland was receiving votes in the latest United Soccer Coaches Poll, and boasted one of the top offenses in the nation. The Pilots ranked third in the nation in goals per game (2.83) and fourth in both shots on goal per game (8.17) and points per game (8.33). UCSB's defense held Portland without a goal for the first time this season and also held them without a shot on goal all night. 

• Clash with the Titans 
UCSB opens Big West play on Thursday against Cal State Fullerton in a rematch of last season's Big West Tournament Semfinal. The Titans have been a thorn in the Gauchos' side after ending their season last year with a 2-1 victory and topping UCSB the year prior, 1-0, in the Big West Tournament Final. While the Gauchos hold a 31-26-3 all-time series lead, including a 21-8-1 record against CSF in the Tim Vom Steeg era, the Titans are 3-2 against UCSB since hiring former UCI head coach George Kuntz in 2014. CSF, however, is winless in its last 13 regular season games at Harder Stadium. The Titans enter Thursday's match on a four game unbeaten streak and are led by junior midfielder Ross Mcphie, who has a team-high four goals on the year. 

• Highlanders History 
UCSB is unbeaten in its last five matches (3-0-2) against UC Riverside and last fell victim to the Highlanders in 2011 by a score of 3-2. This year, UCR is the only Big West school winless on the season (0-7) and now has a 13-match losing streak dating back to last year. The Highlanders are led by Antonio Lokossou, who has scored twice this season. 

• Big West Dominance 
The Gauchos are seeking their fifth straight Big West North Division title and they have dominated the conference with a 26-5-9 record over the past four seasons. In conference openers, UCSB is just as dominant with a 4-0-1 record over the past five years. 

• Home Sweet Home 
UCSB is in the midst of a five-game homestand and has fared much better when at Harder Stadium this season. The Gauchos are unbeaten in four of their five home matches (2-1-2) while having lost all three of its matches on the road. Historically, UCSB has been dominant at home, with a winning percentage of .727 (136-44-23) in the Tim Vom Steeg era (since 1999). 

• Tellechea Strikes Again 
Just one week after sending the Gauchos to their first victory of the season with a game-winning goal to knock off No. 14 Pacific, 1-0, sophomore forward Ignacio Tellechea added another game-winner to lead UCSB past a potent Portland team. The West Virginia Tech transfer and Madrid, Spain native now leads the team with three goals and a .727 shot on goal percentage (8-of-11). 

• Another Day, Another Shutout 
With a 1-0 shutout over Portland on Saturday, UCSB now has four shutouts this season including two in-a-row. Half of its eight matches have ended in shutouts for a .50 shutout percentage which currently ranks T-23rd in the nation. Also for the second straight match, the Gauchos have held its opponents without a shot on goal. 

• Rodney in Top Form 
Freshman Rodney Michael, a Sierra Leone native and last year's California Gatorade Player of the Year out of Dunn School, has started to find his rhythm for the young Gauchos. The fleet-footed forward scored the first goal of his collegiate career earlier this season against Akron and followed it up with his second goal in the very next match against St. John's. Both goals came by way of a header from close range following crosses into the box from Brandon Magpayo against the Zips and Kavian Kashani against the Red Storm. Against No. 14 Pacific last Friday, Michael helped set up the game-winning goal and earned an assist on the play. 

• Starting to Click? 
With 16 new faces on the roster and only three returning starters from a year ago, the Gauchos have struggled offensively to start the season. After failing to score a goal in the first three games of the year, however, UCSB has scored a goal in each of the past five. Sophomore transfer Ignacio Tellechea provided the first against San Diego State before Rodney Michael scored in two straight followed by two more Tellechea goals against Pacific and Portland. 

• He's a Keeper 
Freshman goalkeeper Alan Carrillo has made an immediate impact for the Gauchos in his debut season. The La Mirada, Calif. native and St. John Bosco High School product has played all but one half in goal and leads the team with 21 saves. Carrillo earned Big West Defensive Player of the Week honors after an impressive first week of the season where he recorded two shutouts. He tallied a career-high eight saves against San Diego earlier this year and totaled four in two matches this past week. 

• Injury Report 
The Gauchos will be without star midfielder Kevin Feucht for the 2017 season after the reigning Big West Midfielder of the Year suffered an ACL injury during the first day of training camp. Feucht, a two-time First Team All-Big West and NSCAA Far West All-Region selection, led UCSB with 11 goals while adding two assists during his junior year. 

• Don't You Noah? 
Sophomore New Zealand native Noah Billingsley was selected to the Big West Preseason All-Conference team alongside Kevin Feucht, and is the only active player on the roster to have scored a goal during the 2016 season. Billingsley, an All-Big West Freshman Team selection, finished last season with two goals and three assists and figures to see an increased role on the offensive end in 2017. 

• Incoming Impact 
The Gauchos incoming class was ranked as the No. 15 recruiting class in the nation by College Soccer News. California Gatorade Player of the Year from Dunn School, Rodney Michael, leads the group of signees and will factor in prominently on the attacking front. Michael was also named to Top Draw Soccer's Preseason Best XI Freshman Team. In the exhibition against Westmont, UCSB featured a defense full of newcomers that included goalkeeper Alan Carillo, Adrian Adames, Frazer Poulter and Kavian Kashani. At forward, Ignacio Tellechea will be a factor as well after transferring from West Virginia Tech, where he scored 20 goals last season. 

• Big West Preseason Poll 
For the fifth consecutive season, UCSB was selected by the eight conference head coaches to repeat as Big West North Division Champions. The Gauchos have yet to let any of the voters down as they have claimed the title each of the past four seasons and will look to continue the trend in 2017. UCSB earned six-out-of-eight first place votes and garnered a total of 28 points while UC Davis was picked to finish second with 25 points and one first place vote. Cal Poly received the only other first place vote and ranked third with 17 points while Sacramento State rounded out the poll in fourth with 10 points. Cal State Northridge tallied 30 points and six first place votes to lead the South Division Poll.