Sept. 17, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara sophomore midfielder Ciaran O'Brien was named the Big West Conference Co-Player of the Week for the week ending September 16, it was announced Monday. O'Brien, who shares the award with Sule Anibaba of UC Davis, registered a goal and an assist in the Gauchos' 2-1 overtime win over No. 3 SMU Friday and led the team with four shots against No. 28 New Mexico Sunday.
The native of Federal Way, Wash. scored his team-leading second goal of the season to give UCSB a 1-0 lead over the Mustangs in the 34th minute when he collected a pass from senior forward Tino Nuñez, beat two defenders up the middle, and scored from 10 yards out. After the Gauchos allowed a goal in the 83rd minute that forced overtime, O'Brien connected with 2007 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Candidate Eric Avila, who netted the game-winner just 6:48 into the extra period as Santa Barbara won its second consecutive match.
The victory was UCSB's second over Southern Methodist in a span of nine matches dating back to last season and the Gauchos improved to 3-0-0 all-time against the Mustangs.
O'Brien also led the Gauchos with four shots in Sunday's 2-1 loss at the hands of New Mexico in the final game of the Nike/Crescent Financial Solutions Invitational.
In addition to leading the squad with two goals and five points, the transfer from the University of San Diego ranks second with 12 shots and six shots on goal through five games this season. This is O'Brien's first-career Player of the Week award and the first for a Gaucho this season. UCSB secured the Big West's weekly honor twice during its national championship season in 2006.
Santa Barbara returns to the pitch this Friday, when former assistant coach Leo Chappel and Columbia visit to Harder Stadium for the first time. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. The Gauchos will then take on No. 6 Harvard at Loyola Marymont's Sullivan Field Sunday at 1:30 p.m.