No. 10 UCSB Hosts UC Davis Friday In Light Week

Oct. 9, 2007

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The Schedule
Match No. 11
Friday, October 12, 2007
No. 10 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Davis Aggies
Harder Stadium
Kickoff 7:00 p.m.

For the Record
UC Santa Barbara continued to roll last week, posting home victories over No. 25 UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton to remain perfect in Big West play. With the Fox Soccer Channel cameras rolling, Chris Pontius scored three times and Alfonso Motagalvan also found the net as the Gauchos routed the Anteaters 4-0 in front of a season-high crowd of 5,543 at Harder Stadium in the College Soccer Game of the Week Wednesday night. Santa Barbara's offense finally cooled off Saturday against Cal State Fullerton, but the defense turned in a third consecutive shutout against league foes and Pontius was the hero yet again, punching in the game-winner in the 78th minute to lift UCSB to the 1-0 win. With the pair of victories, Santa Barbara improved to a season-best four games over the .500 mark at 6-2-2 and moved into first place in the Big West standings at 3-0-0. The Gauchos, who have gone unbeaten in the last five, enter competition this week having won six of their last eight overall.

UCSB On the Web
UCSB fans that cannot make it out to Harder Stadium this Friday can catch the Gauchos' showdown with Aggies live online by logging on to to Two of KCSB's finest in John Greely and Juan Salas will have the call. KCSB's radio broadcast will not be available for the match.

Wednesday's Match Postponed
UCSB's Big West Conference match with Cal State Northridge, scheduled for Wednesday, October 10 at 2:00 p.m., has been postponed after the untimely passing of Matador soccer player Jay Singh at his home in San Bruno, Calif., it was announced Monday. The match has been rescheduled for Wednesday, November 14 at Matador Soccer Field. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m. The midfielder was in the midst of a redshirt year in his first season at CSUN after transferring from Loyola Marymount, where he played two seasons for the Lions.

Scouting the Aggies
• With Wednesday's scheduled match at Cal State Northridge postponed until mid-November, UCSB will host UC Davis Friday night in its only contest this week. This weekend's match marks the 16th meeting between the budding conference rivals, with the Gauchos leading the all-time series 10-3-2 after defeating the Aggies 4-0 to open conference play September 29. Chris Pontius, Eric Avila, Jon Curry, and Martin Hedevag all found the net and the defense held down a team that was averaging over three goals per match as the defending national champs sent a message to the rest of the league with the convincing win. The two teams split their two meetings in 2006, with each squad posting a 1-0 win on its home field.

• Davis enters week three of conference play with an overall record of 6-2-1 and a 1-1-0 mark against conference foes after picking up its first-ever victory as a member of the Big West with a 2-1 win over UC Riverside last Wednesday. The Aggies, who will play at Cal Poly Sunday, have not cracked any of the national polls this season, but are ranked No. 8 in the current NSCAA/adidas Far West Region Top 10 (The Gauchos are No. 2). UC Davis finished with an overall record of 9-7-2 and went 7-3-2 against the BWC in 2006.

• As a team, the Aggies lead the Big West with 25 goals scored, which is three more than the Gauchos have put in, while their defense has surrendered 14. The team's average of 2.78 goals per game also leads the conference. Junior midfielder Sule Anibaba leads the squad and ranks second in the Big West with six goals to go with one assist for 13 points, while sophomores Paul Marcoux and Chris Leer have combined to find the net nine times. Senior goalkeeper Brian Wickers has started all nine contests between the posts and owns a goals against average of 1.51 with 28 saves and two shutouts.

Gaucho Faithful Come Out In Full Force For Conference Opener
Not only was the coaching staff pleased with the outcome of last Wednesday's Big West home opener, but there was a lot more to smile about after the final attendance figures came in as a grand total of 5,543 strong were on hand for UCSB's 4-0 dismantling of UC Irvine. For the second year in a row, Santa Barbara set a new regular season attendance record as the 5,543 screaming fans that packed Harder Stadium eclipsed the previous high of 5,475 that was set October 3, 2006 when UCSB battled UCLA in the NSCAA College Game of the Week. The all-time Harder Stadium record for attendance was set in 2004, when 11,215 fans watched Santa Barbara defeat Virginia Commonwealth 4-1 in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. Last season, an unbelievable 8,784 turned up two days after Thanksgiving for the Gauchos' quarterfinal match-up with Northwestern, a game UCSB won 3-2. There is no denying it now...Harder Stadium is unlike anywhere else in college soccer.

An Eye On The Polls
UCSB continued its climb in the national polls for the third consecutive week after posting victories over 25th-ranked UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton. Santa Barbara moved up in the weekly NSCAA/adidas coaches poll for the second straight week, and enters the third week of Big West play with a ranking of No. 14, up four spots from last week's No. 18. In the media polls, the Gauchos moved up two spots from No. 12 to No. 10 in the current College Soccer News Top 30, which is their highest ranking since the third week of the season. UCSB also moved up in the Soccer America Top 25, holding the No. 11 position this week, up one spot from the No. 12 slot the team enjoyed last week. Lastly, UCSB climbed five spots in the the SoccerTimes Top 25 and comes in at No. 11 after securing the No. 16 slot a week ago in it's biggest climb of the week.

View From The Top
The Gauchos waisted little time grabbing sole possesion of the top spot in the Big West Conference standings this season, winning their first three games against league foes and outscoring the opposition 9-0 in the process. Picked to take home the conference crown for the sixth consecutive year, UCSB is currently in first place with nine points, which is five points ahead of second place Cal Poly at 1-0-1 and six in front of third place UC Davis at 1-1-0. And while Santa Barbara is one of just two Big West squads to have already played three conference games, no other team has scored more than three goals in league play. At this point in the 2007 Big West Conference season one thing is clear: the defending champs are head and shoulders above the competition.

Gaucho Offense Continues To Impress...
Entering last week's contest with UC Irvine, UCSB had scored 10 goals in its previous three games, including a 4-0 win at UC Davis September 29. The Gauchos continued to find the net with ease against the Anteaters, scoring three times in the first half and then again late in the second for a second consecutive 4-0 victory. And while Santa Barbara scored just once in Saturday's 1-0 win over Cal State Fullerton, the Gauchos had multiple scoring chances in the match and out-shot the Titans 17-10. After scoring two goals or less in the first five games of the season, UCSB has now scored four or more in three of the last five, including a five goal outburst against Columbia September 21. The defending national championships rank second in the Big West with 22 goals scored and a per game average of 2.20 through 10 matches this season. A total of nine different players have found the net in 2007.

And Defense Keys Big West Success
Before the start of Big West play the Santa Barbara defense had recorded exactly one shutout in its seven non-conference matches -- a 2-0 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee September 7. That was then, this is now. The Gauchos enter the third week of league play having held the opposition scoreless in three straight after defeating Cal State Fullerton 1-0 Saturday night. In fact, UCSB has not allowed a goal in over 322 minutes of play spanning the last four matches. The last time Santa Barbara gave up a goal was at the 57:05 mark of its showdown with No. 6 Harvard September 23. While the Gaucho offense has been very impressive to start conference play, the most compelling stat is the fact that UCSB has recorded three straight shutouts in those games. This marks the first time any team in the BWC has held its first three conference opponents without a goal since the Big West reinstated men's soccer in 2001.

Pontius Named CSN, Soccer America National Player of the Week
Junior midfielder/forward Chris Pontius was named both the College Soccer News and Soccer America Player of the Week for the week ending October 7 after scoring four of the Gauchos' five goals last week to lead the team to league victories over 25th-ranked UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton. In front of the Fox Soccer Channel cameras, Pontius put on an absolute show and contiuned his recent offensive onslought, scoring a career-best three goals, including the eventual game-winner in the 26th minute as UCSB routed UCI 4-0. The Yorba Linda, Calif. native became the first Gaucho to record a hat trick since Tyler Rosenlund tallied all three goals in UCSB's 3-2 win over Northwestern in the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals last season. Pontius came up big again in the Gauchos' contest with Cal State Fullerton Saturday, heading in the game's only goal in the 78th minute. Pontius, who was also named the Big West Player of the Week, has now scored a goal in Santa Barbara's last four matches and leads the conference with eight through 10 games, a total that ranks third nationally. He has now put in six of the team's last 10 goals over UCSB's current five match unbeaten streak and also leads the conference with four game-winners and 17 total points. The Gauchos are 4-1-1 when Pontius has found the net this season.

An Unlikely Source
One of the biggest surprises for head coach Tim Vom Steeg on the offenside end after the first 10 games has been junior Alfonso Motagalvan. An excellent defensive midfielder, Motagalvan has had a career year offensively as well and, along with Chris Pontius, had a big week for the Gauchos in their wins over the Anteaters and Titans. The native of Gilroy, Calif. was the only other player to score a goal for UCSB in the two contests, finding the net in the 30th minute of the 4-0 rout of UC Irvine. Motagalvan almost scored his second goal of the game less than 10 minutes later, but his header on a Ciaran O'Brien corner kick hit the cross bar and Pontius was right there to bury the rebound. Motagalvan was credited with an assist on the play. He then earned his second assist of the week when he sent a left-footed cross high to the left post, where Pontius was waiting and headed in the game-winner in the Gauchos' 1-0 victory over Cal State Fullerton Saturday. For the year, Motagalvan is tied for third with three other players in terms of goals scored with two, and is tied for the team lead with three assists.

Rueckner Makes A Name For Himself
Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Bryant Rueckner has been very effective for UCSB this season, starting all 10 matches between the posts. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native has posted a goals against average of 0.76, which is third among Big West keepers and ranks second with four shutouts. He has also tallied 23 saves. But what is more impressive is the fact that Rueckner has already accomplished something in his first 10 games as the starting keeper that All-American Dan Kennedy only did twice in his four-year career and Kyle Reynish never did at UCSB: record three straight shutouts in conference play. Rueckner has faired quite nicely in the first three games of his career against league foes, not allowing a goal in 270 minutes of play -- something that has not been done since Kennedy blanked Santa Barbara's final three opponents of the 2002 conference season.

Iro, Avila Named to Hermann Award Watch List
Senior defender Andy Iro and junior midfielder Eric Avila were recently named to the 2007 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List, marking the first time in program history that two Gauchos were selected for the prestigious list that will eventually determine the NCAA Division I Player of the Year. The defending national champions are one of only two schools in the nation that had multiple players named to the Watch List, joining senior goalkeeper Matt Allen and junior forward Byron Dacy of Creighton. UCSB has now had a total of four players named to the list after Iro received the honor in 2006 and former teammate Tyler Rosenlund was selected in 2005. The winner of the M.A.C.'s Hermann Trophy will be determined by a panel of NSCAA Division I member coaches. A list of 15 semifinalists will be announced in November, and three finalists will be named in early December in conjunction with the NCAA Division I College Cup. The final three will be invited to the Missouri Athletic Club on Friday, January 11, 2008 and the winner will be announced during a nationally-televised news conference that evening.