Aug. 25, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Injuries to a pair of UC Santa Barbara men's soccer veterans will cost each the 2008 season and force the Gauchos to rely even more heavily on their talented freshman class.
Senior defender Kyle Kaveny fractured his left ankle in Saturday's exhibition match against Westmont and junior midfielder C.J. Cintas broke his left foot during practice last week. Each is expected to undergo surgery and miss the No. 21-ranked Gauchos' entire season which opens this Friday at Harder Stadium vs. Air Force.
"What got hurt is all our experience in the back," Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg said.
Kaveny, who started Saturday's 4-0 win over Westmont, was injured less than six minutes into the game when a Warriors defender fell onto his leg after Kaveny stole the ball. The fifth-year senior is ineligible to apply for a medical redshirt.
Cintas originally broke his foot in the spring and broke it again in the same spot last week. The junior will be out about five months and will use up a redshirt.
However, there was some good news on Monday, less than a week before UCSB's season opener.
Freshman midfielder Danny Barrera practiced for the first time since injuring his knee, as did sophomore transfer from UCLA Kyle McAthy and junior mid Martin Hedevag. Barrera, a highly-touted recruit from Thousand Oaks is expected to be ready for the Sept. 5 game vs. Kentucky, a game that will be televised live on FOX Soccer Channel.
Sophomore forward Bongomin Otii, who is recovering from a knee injury, is expected to be cleared to play in time for UCSB's fourth game of the season, Sept. 12 at Rutgers.
"Michael Tetteh played well and Peter McGlynn played well," Vom Steeg said in reference to the pair of freshmen who started on Saturday. "They were going to be prominent anyway, but now they become essential."
Also impressive was the way several other first-year Gauchos played in the victory over Westmont, making the losses of Kaveny and Cintas a little easier to swallow.
"These are freshmen who walked onto a Division I field and acted like they belonged," Vom Steeg said. "That allows me not to totally freak out over our two big losses."