October 13, 2005

UC Irvine, UC Davis On Tap For 15th-Ranked UCSB This Weekend

Oct. 13, 2005

This Week's Schedule

Friday, October 14
No. 15 UC Santa Barbara (6-2-2) at UC Irvine (6-3-2)
UC Irvine's Anteater Stadium • Kickoff 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 15
No. 15 UC Santa Barbara (6-2-2) vs. UC Davis (5-4-2)
UCSB's Harder Stadium • Kickoff 7:00 p.m.

The Week That Was
UCSB went 1-0-1 last week in a pair of Big West Conference matches, starting with a 4-0 victory over Cal State Fullerton October 5, followed by a 2-2 deadlock with Cal State Northridge Saturday. Senior Ivan Becerra scored two goals, again, including the game-winner as the Gauchos defeated the Titans for the fourth meeting in a row. In the contest against the Matadors, Jeff Murphy scored his first goal of the season and Bryan Byrne's penalty kick in the final minutes of regulation tied the score at two, but neither squad could push through in extra periods and the two best programs in the Big West for the last four years ended in a 2-2 draw. Santa Barbara improved to 6-2-2 overall and 3-0-1 in the Big West.

How the Big West Is Won
For the fourth consecutive week the 15th-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team finds itself in the top spot of the Big West Conference standings after a tie with Cal State Northridge last Saturday and a convincing win over Cal State Fullerton October 5...The victory over the Titans gave the Gauchos sole possession of first place once again, but it would be short-lived as the Matadors pulled even after Saturday's matchup ended knotted at two. After winning the conference crown for the third time in four years last season, UCSB has now held at least a share of the conference lead since finishing second in 2003.

The Ranking Game
UCSB enters competition this week in the No. 20 spot in the current NSCAA Coaches' Poll, up from the No. 24 ranking they had a week ago. The 20th ranking is the highest since the Gauchos entered the 2005 campaign with a preseason ranking of 4. Santa Barbara climbed back into the polls after a 3-1 victory at Cal Poly September 28, after a second stint out of the Top 25 this year. In the media polls, the Gauchos dropped one spot to 15th in the College Soccer News' Top 30, are ranked 16th by Soccer Times and 21st in Soccer America.

UC Irvine Game Capsule
• UCSB starts on the road this week and will face red-hot UC Irvine. The Gauchos have controlled the all-time series, posting a 25-10-2 mark against the Anteaters, but UCI has proven to be a worthy opponent recently, as the two teams have split four contests over the last two seasons with the visiting team winning by a score of 1-0 in each match. In 2004, the Anteaters were one of only three teams to beat the Gauchos, winning 1-0 October 21 at Harder Stadium. Santa Barbara avenged that loss, defeating UCI 1-0 in double overtime November 12 in Irvine.

• The Anteaters enter Friday's match with a 6-3-2 overall record and stand 3-0 in the Big West after road wins over Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton last week. Winners of five straight, Irvine has tallied a total of 16 goals and 13 assists this season for a 1.39 goals per game average. Junior Anthony directs the Anteater offense, leading the team with five goals, 11 points and a .217 shot percentage. Senior keeper Ryan Mathy has started every game between the posts and comes in with a 0.78 goals against average and 31 saves. Junior Brad Evans was named Big West Player of the Week after scoring the game-winner against Cal Poly and assisting on the game-winner against Fullerton in last week's action. The 3-0 start is the program's best ever in conference play.

UC Davis Game Capsule
• After UCSB's bout with UCI, the team will return home to face future Big West member UC Davis. The Gauchos lead the all-time series with the Aggies 6-2-2. The two squads last met in 2004 in a hard-fought battle, with the Gauchos coming out on top 1-0 in double overtime when Neil Jones netted a Tyler Rosenlund cross. Davis will officially become a member of the Big West Conference in 2007.

• The Aggies enter Saturday's contest with an overall record 5-4-2 and will face Cal Poly Friday night. Last week Davis defeated UC Riverside 1-0 in overtime. The Aggies have recorded 10 goals and seven assists this season and have a 0.84 goals scored average. Sophomore Nicholas Lind mans the Aggie offensive ship, leading the team with two goals, two assists and six points. Junior Charles Warne has started every game in goal and brings a 0.92 goals against average with 27 saves to the match. Freshman Juan Hernandez has been impressive as well, leading the squad with a .625 shot on goal percentage with two goals and an assist.

View From The Top
After starting the season slowly at 1-1-1, the Gauchos have found their groove and won six of their last eight and share the Big West Conference lead. As you would expect from a team that has not lost in league play, UCSB's success in the BWC is evident in their conference numbers. Santa Barbara either leads or is in second place in 11 out of 14 Big West statistical categories. The Gauchos lead the conference in goals scored (24) and assists (23), giving them a commanding lead in the race for the conference scoring title with 71 points. Defensively UCSB has been stellar as well, leading the Big West in goals allowed with nine and ranking second in goals against average (0.86) and shutouts (four). As long as the Gauchos continue to play like they have been on both sides of the ball, the defending Big West Champion Gauchos are still the team to beat.

Life After Ties
After splitting their previous four matches, UC Santa Barbara battled Cal State Northridge to a fitting 2-2 tie last Saturday at UCSB's Harder Stadium. With the fact that the Big West Championship has come down to these two schools since 2000 in mind, Saturday's contest was supposed to give one team the upper hand in the conference standings. But, the game ended in a draw and the two squads remain knotted atop BWC at 3-0-1. So what's the good news? In the last five years UCSB has gone 5-1-1 in games following ties and won those by a combined score of 15-7. The Gauchos are 7-2 in contests following a matchup with CSUN during that span.

Down...But Not Out
Prior to Saturday's match with Cal State Northridge, senior forward Ivan Becerra had been carrying the team offensively, scoring a pair of goals in four out of the Gauchos' previous five matches. Beginning with a two-goal performance against UC Riverside, Becerra has put the team on his back and single-handedly secured victories against the Highlanders, Alabama A&M, Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton. The Los Angeles native left Saturday's game mid way through the second half and is questionable for Friday's match in Irvine. His eight goals lead the team and are tied with CSUN's Sims for tops in the Big West. Becerra has also recorded two assists this season giving him 18 total points and a first place tie with Sims in the conference race for the scoring title. The two forwards share the conference lead in five offensive categories.

Byrne Baby, Byrne
Senior midfielder and Team Co-Captain Bryan Byrne came up big for the Gauchos this past week. Against the Titans, Byrne assisted on UCSB's second goal when he sent a corner into the box that was rebounded and put in by Becerra. In Saturday's contest against the Matadors, Byrne was even bigger, assisting on the Gauchos' first goal and scoring the second. Santa Barbara got on the board in the 48th minute when Jeff Murphy's header on a pass from Byrne got past the CSUN keeper. Byrne later scored in the 87th minute on a penalty kick, pulling the Gauchos even at two. The Castledermont, Ireland native is now second on the team with three goals and nine points. His three assists are tied with three others for tops on the squad.

Reynish's Reign
Junior goalkeeper Kyle Reynish has been getting the job done all season long between the posts. He has played all 940 minutes for the Gauchos in 2005 and has 36 saves for a conference-best .800 save percentage. His .86 goals against average ranks second in the Big West. In the matchup with CSF, the Valencia, Calif. native held the Titans scoreless, earning his fourth shutout of the year. Reynish's performed brilliantly against Northridge Saturday, posting four saves, including a deflection on a CSUN penalty kick with under four minutes to go in regulation that would preserve the tie for Santa Barbara.

Fresh Faces
Junior midfielder Eric Frimpong scored the first goal of his collegiate career last Wednesday against Fullerton when he received the ball from freshman forward Nick Perera on a clear run at the Titan net. One-on-one with the Titan keeper, Perera laid off a pass to the onrushing Frimpong near the top of the 18-yard box. Frimpong one-timed Perera's pass and rifled a shot inside the near post for the Gauchos' fourth goal of the night. The assist was also Perera's first career point. Frimpong has two assists this year to go along with his goal for a total of four points.

Hermann Trophy Watch
Sophomore Hermann Trophy candidate Tyler Rosenlund gave a gritty performances last week after being injured the week before and still managed to lead the squad in the biggest game of the season to this point. Under his direction, the Gaucho offense out-shot Northridge 18-12 and earned nine corner kicks to the Matadors' three. For the entire season, nearly half of Santa Barbara's 149 shots have been on frame for a SOG percentage of .407. Individually, Rosenlund has two goals, a team-high three assists and seven points on the season. The midfielder has also done his job defensively, helping UCSB limit the opposition to a respectable .327 SOG percentage and a conference-leading +1.40 scoring margin thus far in 2005.