Aug. 30, 2002
This Week's Matches
at the Michigan State Classic
Sunday, 9/1 Michigan 12 noon
Monday, 9/2 Michigan State 10 a.m.
Pickin' A Winner
UC Santa Barbara prepares to defend its Big West Conference title picked to repeat by the confernece's coaches in the preseason poll. UCSB recieved four out of a possible six first place votes, tallying 32 points, edging second place UC Irvine by one. Irvine and Cal State Fullerton each recieved one vote to win the Big West title, as they finished second and third, respectively, in the voting. Last season the Gauchos were picked to finish third in the same preseason poll, before finishing with the best recond in the Big West. There is one other piece of information of note, if you look closely at the order of rankings in the poll, it mimics last season's final standings.
Nowhere To Hide
Last year's team was good...this year's is better. The Gauchos' already potent offensive recieved a few upgrades in the offseason which should help UCSB in becoming an NCAA Tournament contender. With the return of Rob Friend, last season's Big West Co-Offensive Player of the Year, and All-Big West Honorable Mention Drew McAthy, the Gauchos return their top two scorers from a team that won the Big West Conference scoring title. But where UCSB could be the most deadly this year is in the midfield, everywhere in the midfield. With junior transefers Memo Arzate (Compton College) and David McGill (UNC-Charlotte) on the outsides, and Neil Jones, who has been moved up from defense, the Gauchos have skilled scoring threats in the middle who even better at feeding the ball to the forward line.
Vom Steeg's Stuff
Tim Vom Steeg enters his fourth year as head coach at UC Santa Barbara, his alma mater. He has guided UCSB to a three-year mark of 32-22-4. Last season he had his best season at the helm of the Gauchos as they earned the Big West Conference Championship with a 7-2-1 conference and 11-5-3 overall record. He had eight players named All-Big West, including the conference's Co-Offensive (Rob Friend) and Co-Defensive (Reuben Bates) Players of the Year. The Gauchos' defense in 2001 tied for 24th nationally, posting a 0.42 shutout percentage, blanking eight opponents in 19 matches. In 1999 he guided the Gauchos to a 13-7-0 record in his first season at the helm of the UCSB Men's Soccer Program. Vom Steeg was named MPSF Pacific Division Co-Coach of the Year at the end 1999 season for guiding the Gauchos to a 10.5-game improvement on their 1998 record, the best turnaround in the NCAA at the Division I level for that year.