No. 24 Men's Soccer Opens Big West Play As The Defending Conference Champions Against Cal State Fullerton This Saturday
The Record: Overall 8-1-0 Big West 0-0-0
College Soccer News 21st
Soccer Times 23rd
This Week's Schedule
Big West Conference Season-Opener
Saturday, October 12th
#24 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
Cal State Fullerton Titans
7:00 p.m. at UCSB's Harder Stadium
Defending The Crown
With the end of one streak comes the opportunity to start another. With its eight-game season-opening winning streak over, the 24th-ranked UC Santa Barbara soccer team will embark on a quest to extend another streak, consecutive Big West Conference crowns. The Gauchos, picked to win their second straight Big West championship in the preseason coaches' poll, open league play on Saturday against Cal State Fullerton. UCSB went 7-2-1 en route to the Big West Championship in 2001 and the Titans handed them one of the two losses. Entering the first weekend of conference play, UCSB sits atop the standings with the best overall record in the Big West, Cal State Northridge is second with a 7-1-1 overall record, the Titans are fourth.
Getting Use To It
Although they were shutout by seventh-ranked Loyola Marymount, which has the nation's fifth-ranked defense at 0.48 goals per game, UCSB continues to lead the nation in scoring at 3.56 goals per game. The Gauchos, who have been atop the goal-scoring list for three weeks, are averaging 0.25 goals per game more than Coastal Carolina, the nation's second-highest scoring team. Remarkably, the shutout at the hands of the Lions, who are only allowing an average of 0.48 goals per match, was the the first time the Gauchos have been held scoreless in exactly one year (minus one day). Denver accomplished the feat October 7, 2001. UCSB's 32 goals this season ties as the fifth most scored by any team in Division I to date, and of the teams that have played the same number of matches as Santa Barbara, nine, the next cloest competitor has just 28 goals.
Gaucho goalkeeper Danny Kennedy has been unbeatable of late. After giving up five goals in the first two matches of the season against Michigan State and offensive power Michigan, the sophomore from Yorba Linda has let just five shots find the back of the net in the last six games. In fact, before LMU's overtime goal this past Sunday, Kennedy had not allowed a goal in over 291 minutes, more than three regulation games. In UCSB's last three games, Kennedy has posted a goals against average of 0.33. Including last season, his current career goals against average of 1.05, 28 goals in 2,401 minutes, is the best ever by a UCSB netminder. And it was Kennedy's play on Sunday that kept the Gauchos in the match against the Lions, as he made four saves in the second half with UCSB playing a man down for most of the period, pushing the match into overtime.
Unfortunatly for the Gauchos this weekend, they will be without the nation's best assist man in the line-up due to midfielder Memo Arzate's controversial red card suspension. With one assist in the San Diego State match, the junior playmaker continues to have the highest assist average in nation at 1.22 per game. Arzate is also the only player in the NCAA to have tallied three assists in a single game twice this year. Just one game short of the halfway mark of the regular season, Arzate's 11 assists are the fourth most by a Gaucho in a single season. The current record of 17, was set by Eric Price in 1982. Arzate is also three assists short of breaking into UCSB's career top-10.
Bring On The Big West
UCSB has been the dominant team in the modern era of Big West Men's Soccer. So what if that era is only in its second season. En route to winning the conference title last year, the Gauchos outscored their opponents 25-11 in Big West play, losing just twice, each time by only one goal. Thanks in large part to Santa Barbara's unbeaten record in home conference matches last season, UCSB has not lost at home in over a year. This season looks to be no different as the Gauchos are already 4-0 at Harder Stadium, running its home unbeaten streak to nine games.
His Place In History
Well its not where he wanted to end up, but being the fourth best in NCAA history isn't so bad. Held scoreless by the fifth-ranked defense in the nation, Rob Friend's streak of consecutive games with a goal came to an end at 12, making it the fourth longest such streak in the history of the NCAA. Over the streak, the Kelwona, British Columbia native scored 15 goals and assisted on three others for 33 points, for a 2.75 points per game average. Friend's current 2.56 points per game average this season is the ninth best in the nation, his 1.11 goals per game average ties him for tenth best.
Cal State Fullerton enters Saturday's match with a deceiving 3-5-1 overall record having lost four games to perenial top-25 teams. Two weeks ago the Titans handed New Mexico, which at the time was 8-0-0, its first loss of the season. In recent years the showdown between Fullerton and the Gauchos has been a good one, and this meeting shouldn't be any different. Led by midfielder David Dischner (2 goals, 1 assist) and forward Hector Orellana (5 goals, 2 assists), both All-Big West selections in 2001, the Titans are looking to renew their hopes of post-season play. While the Gauchos will be trying to exact revenge, because it was Santa Barbara's 3-2 loss to Fullerton in the final game of the season last year that may have kept the Gauchos out of the post-season.
Rank in the Nation...Statistically Speaking
1st Scoring Offense
3.56 goals per game
5th (tie)32 Total Goals
7th Won/Loss %
1st Most wins to start the season
1.22 assists per game
11 Total Assists
Assists in a game (3) - twice
1.11 goals per game
2.56 points per game
23 Total Points
UCSB Leads The Big West In:
Scoring Margin +2.4
Big West Statistics
Points Per Game (rk) 1. Friend 23 2.56 (1) 2. McAthy 15 1.67 (2) 3. Arzate 13 1.44 (3) Deering 13 1.44 (3) 8. Young 9 1.00 (7)
Goals Per Game (rk) 1. Friend 10 1.11 (1) 2. McAthy 7 0.78 (2) 3. Deering 5 0.56 (3) 4. Young 4 0.44 (4)
Assists Per Game (rk) 1. Arzate 11 1.43 (1) 2. McGill 5 0.71 (2) 5. Deering 3 0.33 (6) Friend 3 0.43 (6) Kubota 3 0.33 (6)
Goals Against Goals Against Avg. 3. Kennedy 10 1.26 (4)