October 17, 2006

UCSB Returns Home With UC Davis, Cal State Fullerton on the Slate

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Oct. 17, 2006

This Week's Schedule

Wednesday, October 18, 2006
UC Santa Barbara (8-6-0) vs. UC Davis (7-5-2)
Harder Stadium • Kickoff 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 21, 2006
UC Santa Barbara (8-6-0, 4-2-0) vs. Cal State Fullerton (5-8-1, 1-4-0)
Harder Stadium • Kickoff 7:00 p.m.

Taming the Aggies
• UCSB will square off with UC Davis in the first of three consecutive home games Wednesday, looking to avenge a 1-0 loss that came earlier this season. Wednesday night's contest will mark the 14th meeting between the Gauchos and Aggies, with Santa Barbara holding an 8-3-2 advantage in the all-time series. In the first meeting Davis got an early goal from Sule Anibaba and held on for the 1-0 victory September 23. Despite out-shooting the Aggies 11-7, the Gauchos were unable to put the ball away and fell to the Aggies for just the third time. Last season Eric Avila netted the game's only goal in the 81st minute as UCSB shutout UC Davis 1-0 in Santa Barbara October 15. Avila came up big again when the Gauchos traveled to Davis, this time scoring the game-winner in the 110th minute leading Santa Barbara to a 3-2 double overtime victory 11 days later.

• The Aggies, who will officially become members of the Big West in 2007, enter Wednesday's match up with a 7-5-2 mark after losing to Cal Poly and defeating Cal State Fullerton last week. Sophomore forward Quincy Amarikwa headlines the Davis offense, leading the team with seven goals in 2006. Freshman midfielder Paul Marcoux is not far behind with five goals and one assist. Senior keeper Charles Warne has started every game for the Aggies and owns a 1.32 goals against average and 38 saves.

Clashing with the Titans
• After the Gauchos battle the Aggies, Cal State Fullerton will come to town for a conference showdown Saturday. The Gauchos and Titans have squared off a total of 43 times as members of both the Big West and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and Fullerton holds a 22-19-2 all-time advantage. Santa Barbara has dominated the series lately though, winning the last six meetings by a combined scored of 14-4 with four shutouts. The Gauchos outlasted the Titans 2-1 earlier this season in Fullerton after Nick Perera scored the golden goal in the 106th minute of the second overtime period. Two of those four shutouts came last season as UCSB defeated CSUF 4-0 and 2-0.

• The Titans, who are currently in last place in the Big West Conference standings at 1-4-0, own a 5-8-1 overall record after losses to Cal Poly and UC Davis last week. CSUF is led by senior forward Eugene Brooks who has tallied a team-high eight goals with two assists this season, while junior defender Amir Shafii has found the net four times and recorded three assists. Junior Goalkeeper Brent Douglas has started seven of the Titan's 14 games between the posts and holds a 1.61 goals against average with 29 saves.

UCSB Struggles To Finish, Falls to Riverside
Another early goal spelled defeat for the Gauchos last Wednesday, as they lost 1-0 at UC Riverside in their first game of the week. Forward Nathan Paterson scored just 1:15 into the game and that was all the Highlanders needed to hand the Gauchos their second loss in league play. UCSB otherwise dominated the match, posting a 20-9 shot advantage, with seven of its shots coming on frame, but finishing was once again an issue. The Gauchos came close to equalizing in the sixth minute when Nick Perera hit a shot low to the left of UCR keeper Charles Alamo, but he was able to get a hand on it to push it off the post. Brennan Tennelle had the next opportunity in the 29th minute, but skied his shot high. Alamo, whose performance helped him bring home this week's BWC Player of the Week honors, was tremendous for Riverside. He recorded six saves, including two key stops down the stretch to preserve the shutout for the Highlanders. The loss was just the second-ever for Santa Barbara in 17 meetings with Riverside and snapped a 10-game winning streak in the series. UCR last defeated UCSB in 1974 when the Highlanders were a Division II program.

Gauchos Continue To Dominate Cal Poly
UCSB responded to the defeat at UC Riverside with a 2-0 shutout victory over Cal Poly Saturday night. The Gauchos pushed through with their first goal in over 120 minutes of play after Tyler Rosenlund played a ball through the middle for Eric Avila. The sophomore midfielder then sent the ball past a diving Mustang goalkeeper Eric Branagan-Franco for the eventual game-winner at the 11:21 mark. Santa Barbara went up by the final 2-0 count just 37 seconds later when Rosenlund fed a fast break ball to Bongomin Otii for the Gauchos' second score of the evening. Goalkeeper Kyle Reynish took over from there, posting a season-high eight saves, including several big stops late, on the way to his seventh shutout of the year. Despite being out-shot 15-8 for the match and losing the corner kick battle 4-1, Santa Barbara held on. The two goals against the Mustangs marked just the fifth time UCSB scored more than once in a game this season. With the victory, Santa Barbara swept the season series from the Mustangs, defeating their Central Coast rivals for the 12th straight time. UCSB improved to 3-4-0 away from Harder Stadium.

Narrow Decisions
Although the Gauchos have already surpassed their 2005 total of five losses with six this season after falling at Riverside last week, four of those have been decided by a single goal. With the exception of the 5-0 defeat at reigning Big West champion Cal State Northridge September 27 and the 3-1 loss to No. 7 UCLA two weeks ago, UCSB's other four losses have been by a combined four goals. Santa Barbara has fallen to No. 3 Virginia, No. 18 Illinois at Chicago, UC Davis, and now UC Riverside by one goal counts this season. As far as the Gauchos' eight victories go, half have come by just one goal while the other four have come by an average margin of 2.75.

You've Got To Bounce Back
While we are on the topic of UCSB defeats, its important to note that head coach Tim Vom Steeg's squad has shown the ability to bounce back after a loss all season. The Gauchos have come out on top in five of the six matches they have played following a defeat this season, shutting out their opponents 7-0 in those games. UCSB has only lost back-to-back matches once this season, falling 5-0 at Cal State Northridge four days after getting edged 1-0 at UC Davis on September 23. Santa Barbara has lost its first match up the previous two weeks, falling to UCLA and UC Riverside, but then responded with big wins over conference-leading UC Irvine and Cal Poly to finish the week.

He's Not Done Yet
Freshman forward Bongomin Otii scored his team-leading sixth goal in Saturday's 2-0 victory over Cal Poly, snapping a scoreless streak of eight games. After becoming the first player in program history to score five goals in his first five games wearing the blue and gold, the Denver, Colo. native was held scoreless against Loyola Marymount September 15 and has had trouble finding the net since. He finally broke through against the Mustangs, finishing a ball from Tyler Rosenlund on the break for the final 2-0 advantage at the 11:58 mark. In addition to leading the squad, Otti's six goals are the fourth most in the Big West Conference and he leads the Gauchos with a .333 shot percentage. After UCSB's all-time leading scorer Drew McAthy finished with just four goals his freshman year, its safe to say that Otii has an excellent chance to become one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the program.

Guess Who Else is Back
Otii was not the only player to snap a significant scoreless streak in the Gauchos' victory over Cal Poly. Sophomore midfielder Eric Avila found the net against the Mustangs for the first time in 12 games when he chipped in the game-winner early in the opening period. After the reigning Big West Freshman of the Year scored two goals in UCSB's 5-0 dismantling of seventh-ranked Akron to start the season, all signs pointed to Avila having an amazing sophomore campaign. Unfortunately Santa Barbara has struggled to put the ball away in 2006 and Avila has been no exception. But the San Diego native got back in the swing of things Saturday, collecting a ball from Rosenlund in the midfield and sending the ball past the Poly goalkeeper to put the Gauchos up for good in the 12th minute. Avila's three goals rank second on the team behind Otii's six and he leads the the squad in both shots with 31 and shots on goal with 16.

Monster in the Middle
The Gaucho coaching staff finally got the game out of junior midfielder Tyler Rosenlund that they have been waiting for all season Saturday at Cal Poly. After missing the first eight games of the season with a foot injury, the Port Coquitlam, B.C. native returned to the lineup in a reserve role September 27 at Cal State Northridge and has started the five games since. Rosenlund showed his ability to start the Gaucho offense from his position in the midfield last week, recording assists on both of Santa Barbara's goals in the 2-0 victory over the Mustangs. He connected with Eric Avila through the middle for the game-winner at the 11:21 mark and then helped put the game out of reach 37 seconds later when he played a break away ball up to Bongomin Otii for the score. The pair of assists were Rosenlund's first points this year. A MAC Hermann Trophy Candidate in 2005, Rosenlund finished the season third on the team with 13 points on three goals and seven assists.

Not In Their House
After allowing an early goal in the 1-0 loss at UC Riverside last Wednesday, senior goalkeeper Kyle Reynish bounced back with a tremendous performance at Cal Poly, recording a season-high eight saves. Reynish made several critical stops late in the match--including tipping the ball just over the crossbar on Mustang defender KJ Lenihan's shot from the left side--to preserve the shutout victory for the Gauchos. The Valencia, Calif. native leads the Big West with seven shutouts in 14 games this season after posting a career-high nine in 2005. In fact, he has held the opposition scoreless in all but one of UCSB's eight wins this season. Only Cal State Fullerton has been able to find the net against Reynish in a Santa Barbara victory, scoring once in the 85th minute. In addition to leading the conference in shutouts, he ranks among the conference's top three keeper's in every statistical category, including goals against average (1.13), saves (29), and save percentage (.806).