Oct. 13, 2000
Santa Barbara, Calif. -
The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team will host Mountain Pacific Sports Federation rival Cal State Fullerton in a 6:00 p.m. match on Sunday at Harder Stadium.
The Gauchos, who split their first two MPSF matches of the season, have overcome a mid-season lull and are playing solid soccer right now. Last Friday, UCSB used a pair of first half goals and a shorthanded goal in the second half, to win at UNLV, 3-1. On Sunday they dropped a heartbreaker, 2-1 in double overtime at the University of New Mexico. The Lobos scored in the 106th minute to record the win.
Despite the narrow defeat at New Mexico, UCSB has won three of its last four matches to improve its overall record to 5-6. In the last four matches, the Gauchos have piled up 12 goals. In the five matches preceeding that period, UCSB could muster only three total scores.
Several Gauchos are at the root of the recent turnaround. Junior forward Jaime Ambriz has scored four goals and an assist in the last four contests and he currently leads Santa Barbara in scoring with six goals and an assist for 13 points. In addition, freshman Darren Doi leads the team in assists with four, three of which have come in the last four outings.
Defensively, UCSB is still attempting to overcome the loss of senior A.J. Albertalli who was knocked out for the season at Cal on September 17. Albertalli suffered several broken bones in his face in a collision with a Golden Bear defender. Freshman goalkeeper Erik Stolhandske has been solid since inheriting the starting job between the posts. He will enter Sunday's match with a goals against average of 1.11. He has posted a 4-4 record and has three shutouts. In 494 minutes over the last five matches, three of which were wins and two of which were overtime losses, Stolhandske has posted a goals against average of 0.73.
Cal State Fullerton entered the week with a 7-4-1 overall record and a 1-0-1 mark in MPSF play. They are one of the league's favorites and have been ranked as high as fourth in the nation this season.