Gauchos Gear Up for Golden Bears on Saturday

(Photo by Gabrielle Penner)
(Photo by Gabrielle Penner)
To view this release in PDF form, please click here.
 
The Schedule
Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m
UC Santa Barbara vs. (RV) Cal (1-0-1)
All-time record vs. the Golden Bears (W-L-T): 11-18-3
Last meeting: Sept. 24, 2016, Cal def. UCSB, 3-2 (OT)
 
Video Stream Available
UCSBGauchos.com will offer a live video broadcast of the game this weekend through Big West TV. The "Voice of the Gauchos" Gerry Fall will be on play-by-play duties, while current Gaucho athlete Carson vom Steeg will be providing color commentary throughout the broadcast. An additional audio-only stream will be available via KCSB-FM 91.9, UCSB's student radio station. A link to both broadcasts can be found on the UCSB men's soccer schedule page.
 
The Gaucho Rewind, Matchdays 1 and 2
College soccer returned to Harder Stadium last weekend, as the UCSB men's soccer team split its first pair of games against UNLV and No. 16 Virginia Tech. The Gauchos and Rebels left all the action for late in the season opener, with an Ignacio Tellechea equalizer in the 88th minute and Will Baynham's game-winner in the 107th enough to give UCSB the overtime victory. However, the Gauchos lost freshman left back Lucas Gonzalez in his career debut to injury, and reliable senior centerback Faouzi Taieb picked up an injury of his own in the game. Those would complicate the Sunday night match against No. 16 Virginia Tech, which the Gauchos suffered defeat in after giving up three unanswered goals after going ahead early on a Virginia Tech own goal.
 
UC Rivalry
The Gauchos enter Saturday night's match against Cal having lost their last four matchups against the Golden Bears. The most recent match between the two ended with UCSB suffering a 3-2 home overtime loss in 2016. Kevin Feucht and Nick DePuy had the goals for the Gauchos on the night, but a Cal team featuring Jurgen Klinsmann in goal, son of former US Men's National Team manager Jurgen Klinsmann, and San Jose Earthquakes and USMNT outside back Nick Lima overpowered UCSB six minutes into overtime. Santa Barbara hasn't won against Cal since 2003, and the all-time series hasn't witnessed a draw since 1979.
 
Scouting the Opponent
The Golden Bears are receiving votes in the Top Drawer Soccer top 25 (hence the RV next to their name on the schedule and program, which does not stand for recreational vehicle) after their first two games saw them win 1-0 over Omaha and draw 1-1 against No. 25 UC Irvine. Paolo Carrillo-Weisenburger and Thomas Williamson scored for the Golden Bears in their matches, respectively. One to watch for the opposition is defender JJ Foe Nuphaus, who checked in as No. 16 in Top Drawer Soccer's preseason ranking of the top 20 players in the Pac-12. He was one of three Cal players in the rankings, with goalkeeper Drake Callender landing at No. 11 and defender Ian Lonergan at No. 20.
 
International Duty
After being selected to the New Zealand U-23 squad for the upcoming Oceania Football Confederation U-23 Championship, senior right wingback Noah Billingsley and junior centerback Hunter Ashworth will be unavailable for selection until at least Sept. 28 and potentially up to Oct. 6, depending on the squad's results at the tournament. The Kiwi duo are looking to help their home country qualify for its first Olympics since 2008 in Beijing. Both players started New Zealand U-23's first of two back-to-back friendlies with Australia U-23 on Sept. 6, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Ashworth played the entirety of the first half before being substituted at the interval, and Billingsley played 62 minutes before being taken off. The second friendly will take place on Monday, Sept. 9. 
 
Welcome to the RPIarty
One of the silver linings from opening weekend is that the Big West schools as a whole did extremely well across the board, putting the conference in a strong position RPI-wise early on, which can affect seeding possibilities later on in the season. The Big West went 10-4-2 against opponents in the first weekend of play, with four schools off to a 2-0-0 start and another going unbeaten.
 
Comment puis-je vous aider? (How may I assist you?)
French attacking midfielder Thibault Candia recorded the third multi-assist game of his UCSB career with his two-assist showing. against UNLV last Friday night. In the 88th minute, Sahid Conteh played the ball to the edge of the box on the left side where Candia crossed the ball on a first-time half-volley into the box for ignacio Tellechea to score the equalizer. Later in the game, he delivered a pinpoint corner kick that found Will Baynham in the six-yard box for the game-winner in the 107th minute. Last season, Candia picked up two assists in the Gauchos matches at New Mexico and against Cal Poly en route to leading the team with seven assists.
 
Gear Up for on Gameday
The first 500 fans ages 12 and under at Saturday night's match will receive a free youth T-shirt. GKids memberships are also available for purchase for $25. GKids members get a T-shirt that grants admission into all regular season UCSB home games, including soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, water polo, and volleyball. Find out more by heading to UCSBgauchos.com 
 
Fun for the Whole Family
The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer program is debuting a revamped kids zone this season, featuring activities such as futsal, soccer golf, soccer tennis, and obstacle courses, at Harder Stadium prior to every men's soccer home match. The kids zone will be open to season ticket holders, from 6:30 p.m. up to 15 minutes before kickoff, and also at halftime. Fans are encouraged to arrive early as there is limited space for each game and the kids zone will fill up quickly. The play area will be open to children from the ages of 6 to 12. Event staff will be present to supervise the area, but parents/guardians will be required to sign a liability waiver on the first visit. The area will be located at the north end of Harder Stadium near the Gold Zone and Gaucho Fund hospitality area.
 
Single Game Tickets on Sale Now
Single game tickets to UCSB men's soccer matches are on sale now and can be purchased by online at UCSBgauchos.com, by visiting the ticket office, or calling (805) 893-UCSB.. UCSB season tickets, including a parking pass for the 2019 season, are also still available. Plans start at $50, with combo (men's and women's games) and family plans also available. Certain plans also include priority seating for the Stanford and Cal Poly games.
 
Marquee Matchups
UCSB's 2019 schedule is loaded with quality opponents, including six teams that qualified for the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Pac-12 opponents Cal and Stanford highlight the home schedule, visiting Harder Stadium on either end of September. From the ACC, a traditional powerhouse conference in college soccer, Virginia Tech makes the cross-country trip to play UCSB on Sept. 1. A trip up to the Pacific Northwest to face Gonzaga and Oregon State, as well as the Blue-Green rivalry match against Cal Poly, are some of the other highlights of the non-conference schedule. In conference play, the Gauchos' home matches against Sacramento State, UC Riverside, and UC Irvine offers a chance for revenge against a trio of opponents that UCSB only managed to pick up a single point from (2-2 OT draw at UC Irvine) last season. The final three games of the season see the Gauchos hit the road, culminating in the all-important second chapter of the Blue-Green Rivalry at the Alex G. Spanos Stadium in San Luis Obispo.
 
Harder Heaven
Last season, UCSB finished 9-0-1 at home, good for its best home record since the 2002 Gauchos went 10-0-0. That came a year after the Gauchos went unbeaten in eight of their 10 home matches during the regular season (4-2-4). In the Vom Steeg era (since 1999), the Gauchos boast a hearty .731 winning percentage (147-46-26).
 
2018 in Review
The Gauchos were stellar at home, but struggled on the road throughout the 2018 season. An emphatic 7-0 win over Westmont saw the Gauchos reclaim the Bryant and Sons Cup from their loss to the Warriors the year prior. The season began with home wins over St. John's and UC Riverside, in which the Gauchos only gave up one goal. The first road trip of the season saw UCSB get shut out at Portland and Seattle. After winning at home against Butler, the Gauchos picked up their lone non-conference win at New Mexico, 2-1, thanks to a pair of Thibault Candia assists. More trouble on the road would come at St. Mary's, losing a heartbreaker 1-0 in double overtime in the final minute of play. Wins over UCLA and Gonzaga at home ushered in the Big West schedule, but not before a 1-0 loss at rivals Cal Poly. The Gauchos would open Big West play with two losses in three games, an overtime win against Cal State Fullerton being the only exception. A 2-2 draw at league leaders UC Irvine pushed the Gauchos to three home wins in a row, but Fullerton got its revenge by defeating the Gauchos at Harder Stadium on penalty kicks in the first round of the Big West Tournament to bring an end to UCSB's season.
 
Cream of the Crop
UCSB were picked to finish first in the Big West Preseason Coaches' Poll, receiving 53 points, tallied from the coaches' votes in which teams were ranked from 1-8 and assigned a corresponding point value, two points ahead of second-placed UC Irvine and eight ahead of CSUN. UCSB also received three first-place votes, whereas Irvine received two, and Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside, and Cal Poly had one apiece.
 
High Praise
The Gauchos also landed three players on the Big West Preseason All-Conference list. Senior wingback Noah Billingsley earned the distinction for the third time in his Gaucho career, while junior winger Rodney Michael made the list for the second consecutive year. Junior centerback Hunter Ashworth was selected to the preseason list for the first time since transferring from University of San Francisco after the 2017 season.
 
Mic'd Up
Head Coach Tim vom Steeg and team captains Hunter Ashworth and Noah Billingsley were recently featured on the Up, Up, and Ole podcast, the official podcast of Gaucho Athletics. The episodes are available to stream and/or download from UCSBGauchos.com, as well as Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. The men's soccer program also has a new home on Facebook and can be found by searching "UCSB Men's Soccer," joining its existing Twitter and Instagram accounts as the online destinations for news, updates, and features on the team.