No. 15 UCSB Battles UCLA, No. 18 UC Irvine on Road This Week
Sept. 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. UC Santa Barbara at UCLA (2-3-3) at UCLA's Marshall Field at Drake Stadium Game broadcast on KCSB 91.9 FM and streaming online at www.kcsb.org. Also available on GameTracker.
Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. UC Santa Barbara at No. 18 UC Irvine (7-0-2) at UC Irvine's Anteater Stadium Game broadcast on KCSB 91.9 FM and streaming online at www.kcsb.org. Also available on GameTracker.
With big wins comes big recognition and the Gauchos weren't without that after knocking off No. 10 Indiana last Saturday in Bloomington. Goalie Kristopher Minton, who was making just his second start this season, had four saves and allowed just one goal - which came when the Gauchos were playing a man down - was named the Big West's Player of the Week. Minton was also named to Soccer America's Team of the Week. Senior forward Chris Pontius was named to College Soccer News' Team of the Week after scoring his second game-winner this season, heading in a ball with 12 seconds left in the first half for his team-high seventh goal this year. Junior Jon Curry was named to Top Drawer Soccer's Team of the Week after the win in which he had an assist on Pontius' goal.
Movin' On Up
The victory over Indiana catapulted UCSB up in every poll with the Gauchos ranked as high as 15 thanks to Top Drawer, which didn't even have UCSB ranked last week. Santa Barbara is No. 16 in Soccer America's poll, No. 17 by both Soccer Times and College Soccer News and the Gauchos have moved back into the NSCAA poll after two weeks of looking from the outside in. UCSB is ranked No. 22 in the nation and third in the Far West.
Worth A Mint
Redshirt freshman Kristopher Minton made just his second career start between the pipes last Saturday and it paid off for UCSB. Minton played his first complete game (he started the Sept. 14 loss at Columbia, playing just the first half) and had four saves. More importantly, he helped a defense that faced 21 shots by the Hoosiers and the lone goal he allowed came when the Gauchos were playing a man down because of a red card.
Points for Pontius
Hermann Trophy candidate Chris Pontius was named to his second Team of the Week by a national publication when College Soccer News awarded him after he scored for the fourth time in three games and the seventh time in eight games this season. He leads the team with 15 points - seven goals and an assist - which ties him for 19th in the country with 1.88 points per game. Averaging 0.88 goals per game places the senior tied for 11th in the nation. He is also second in the Big West in goals, goals per game, points and points per game. One of the team's captains, Pontius was also named as a Third-Team Preseason All-America by College Soccer News.
With 17 goals in its first eight games, UCSB is tied for 17th in the nation in goals per game, averaging 2.13. Within the Big West, the Gauchos average the most points per game with 6.12 and their 150 shots are the most in the league.
Little Big Man
Although he's listed at just 5-foot-4, Bryan Dominguez sure doesn't play like it. He is one of two freshmen to start all eight games (the other is Peter McGlynn) and the midfielder has doled out a team-best five assists. Furthermore, Dominguez's 0.63 assists per game are tied for seventh in the country and he ranks second in the Big West in assists and assists per game. Dominguez and Danny Barrera were named to College Soccer News' Top 100 Freshmen to Watch this season.
Junior David Walker, who has started all eight games for the Gauchos this season, will have to sit out Wednesday's game at UCLA after receiving a red card in the win over Indiana. Walker was given the card at 73:35 with the Gauchos leading 2-0. It is the first red card by a Gaucho this season, though the team has totaled 15 yellow cards.
This is the first meeting between UCSB and UCLA since the 2006 NCAA championship final when the Gauchos beat the Bruins, 2-1, for the program's first national title. UCLA has played a difficult schedule, dropping games to Wake Forest, Indiana and Maryland while tying Cal State Northridge and North Carolina. The Bruins are led by senior forward Maxwell Griffin, who has three goals and two assists, and junior midfielder Michael Stephens, who has three goals. Overall, UCLA holds a big edge in the series, 28-3-2.
Info on Irvine
UC Irvine is ranked in four polls - No. 18 by the NSCAA, No. 22 by College Soccer News, No. 23 by Soccer Times and No. 25 by Soccer America - and are led by senior midfielder Matt Murphy who has five goals and three assists, and sophomore forward Spencer Thompson, who has four goals and four assists. Overall, the Gauchos are 29-11-3 against the Anteaters, with their last loss to Irvine coming on Nov. 1, 2006 when UCSB dropped a 2-0 decision at Anteater Stadium. That defeat was the team's only loss in their final 12 games of the national championship season.
Harder was Hoppin'
UC Santa Barbara hosted the largest crowd in the NCAA so far this season when over 7,000 fans showed up Sept. 21 to watch the match vs. top-ranked Wake Forest. The 7,408 attendees who filled Harder Stadium for the inaugural Challenge Cup marked the second-most to see a regular-season game and the fifth-largest crowd in UCSB men's soccer history.
Seeing more action lately, and rightfully so, has been junior Martin Hedevag, who has started the Gauchos' past three games as a defender, lending more size to the squad's back line. Hedevag scored his second goal of the season - matching his entire total from a year ago - in the Sept. 18 victory over Evansville. The native of Gothenburg, Sweden is second on the team with six points. He made his first career start against Rutgers after tallying his first goal of the year in the victory over LMU. That was Hedevag's third career goal as a Gaucho, all coming in his first four shots. Last year he scored only two goals on three shots.
Safe at Home
The loss to Wake Forest ended Santa Barbara's 13-game unbeaten streak at Harder Stadium and was the Gauchos' first loss at home since Sept. 2, 2007. Despite the defeat, Harder Stadium has been an extremely friendly place for the Gauchos to play under Vom Steeg. Since the start of the 2005 season, UCSB is 30-5-5 at home. Vom Steeg has guided the Gauchos to an impressive 74-17-9 record at home, including a perfect 10-0-0 mark in 2002.
The L Word
It had been nearly a decade since UCSB had dropped three of its first seven games, doing so this season for the first time since 2000. That team, the only UCSB squad to post a losing record in Vom Steeg's tenure, started the year 3-6-0 and suffered through five consecutive defeats after beginning the season 3-1-0. This season also witnessed another infrequent losing note - dropping consecutive games. The back-to-back losses the team suffered to Rutgers and Columbia occurred for only the eighth time in the 10 seasons Tim Vom Steeg has been UCSB's head coach. It was the first losing streak the Gauchos had since Sept. 23-27, 2006. This is only the fourth time in eight years that a Vom Steeg-coached UCSB team has lost at least two games in a row, whereas the other four sets of consecutive defeats occurred in Vom Steeg's first two seasons coaching the Gauchos (1999-2000).
UCSB will be featured on Fox Soccer Channel on Oct. 17 when the Gauchos travel to Cal Poly.