No. 6 UCSB Returns to Harder to Host Cal State Fullerton

Oct. 21, 2009

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• The Schedule
Saturday, October 24, 2009, 7 pm UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (10-3-1, 4-1-0) at Cal State Fullerton (7-6-1, 3-2-0)
at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium
Game broadcast LIVE by KIST 1490 AM (streaming at UCSBgauchos.com)
Game broadcast LIVE by KCSB 91.9 FM
Game available on Gametracker

• Home Sweet Home
After three consecutive road matches, UC Santa Barbara returns to the friendly confines of Meredith Field at Harder Stadium for a two-match homestand. The Gauchos will host Big West opponent Cal State Fullerton on Saturday and then Cal State Northridge on Wednesday, Oct. 28. UCSB holds a 5-1-0 record at Harder this season and is amidst a three-game home win streak. The Gauchos also enter Saturday's contest with a five-game unbeaten streak in conference home contests. The last time a league foe defeated UCSB at Harder Stadium was when UC Irvine handed the Gauchos a 3-1 loss on Nov. 1, 2008.

• For the Record
UCSB enters the week with a 10-3-1 overall record, marking the program's best start to a season since 2004, when the Gauchos jumped out to an 11-1-1 record in their first 13 games. The Gauchos have already matched their total wins from 2008, when they went 10-7-5. Sunday's loss to Cal State Northridge was UCSB's first loss in conference play this season and it also snapped a five-game win and shutout streak by the Gauchos.

• Taking On The Titans
Cal State Fullerton enters the week with a 7-6-1 overall record and a 3-2-0 mark in Big West play. The Titans will play at UC Riverside on Wednesday before traveling to Santa Barbara on Saturday and if they win, they will be tied with the Gauchos with 12 points in conference play. Fullerton has won three of its last four contests, including a 1-0 victory over UC Davis last Saturday. The Titans have had struggles on the road this season, posting just a 1-4-0 away record. Celso Alvarez leads Fullerton with five goals and 11 total points on the year, which ranks eighth in the conference. Shay Spitz and Jamall Farquharson have tallied three goals and three assists each. In goal, Trevor Whiddon has recorded most of the minutes and has posted a .761 saves percentage, ranking sixth in the conference, and he paces the Big West with 51 total saves (3.92 per game).

• Gauchos vs. Titans: A Short History Lesson
The all-time series between UCSB and Cal State Fullerton has been a tight one with the Gauchos holding a narrow 23-22-2 advantage. In recent years, however, UCSB has dominated the series winning the last 10 contests with the Titans. The Gauchos' last loss to the team was on Oct. 25, 2003 by a 4-1 score. During the last meeting, UCSB defeated Fullerton, 2-1 on Oct. 25, 2008.

• Vom Steeg Hits #150
In his 11th year leading the Gauchos, head coach Tim Vom Steeg became the winningest coach in Big West history on Oct. 7 when UCSB defeated Cal Poly, 1-0 and then won his 150th game last Thursday with UCSB's 3-0 victory over UC Davis. Vom Steeg has posted a 150-59-21 record at the helm of UCSB and a 129-42-20 record since the program rejoined the Big West in 2001. Vom Steeg is also the winningest coach in UCSB men's soccer history and has turned the Gauchos into an annual national title contender. The 2004 and 2006 NSCAA National Coach of the Year, Vom Steeg guided the Gauchos to the NCAA title in 2006 and the championship game in 2004. He has guided UCSB to five Big West titles in the past eight years and seven consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. He won Big West Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2004 and 2005 and has produced 15 All-Americans.

• All Good Things Come To An End
On Sunday, the Gauchos saw three streaks come to a halt. UCSB had been amidst a five-game win streak - a program best since UCSB strung together a six-game streak in 2007 - a five-game shutout streak and a 16-game scoring streak. During their shutout streak however, the Gauchos tied the school record for consecutive shutouts in a season and also set a new record for consecutive shutout minutes. The previous record had been set in 2004 at 518:29 minutes and the new standard was set at 542:10 minutes.

• Getting Defensive
Speaking of shutouts, UCSB has tallied a total of eight shutout victories this season, all with junior Sam Hayden in the goal. The eight shutouts puts Hayden in a six-way tie for fifth on the UCSB single-season shutouts top-10 list. The last person to accomplish eight shutouts in a season was Dan Kennedy in 2003. Kennedy went on to set the school shutouts record in 2004 when he recorded 13.

• Big Time Barrera
Sophomore midfielder Danny Barrera had yet another standout performance in the Gauchos' victory over UC Davis. Barrera scored UCSB's first two goals and then assisted Joe Eubanks' first career goal as UCSB defeated the Aggies, 3-0. With the two goals and an assist, Barrera tied Michael Nonni for the team-lead for points with 16 total (five goals, six assists each). Barrera currently ranks first in the Big West for assists, second for goals and points, third for points per game (1.14) and assists per game (0.43), and sixth for goals per game (0.36). Nationally he ranks 50th for assists per game and 88th for points per game.

• Sam I Am
Gaucho goalkeeper Sam Hayden currently leads the Big West with his 0.86 goals against average, eight shutouts and 0.57 shutouts per game. He is second with his .786 save percentage and fourth with 44 total saves (3.14 per game). Nationally, he ranks 50th for goals against average and 68th for save percentage. After recording 506 consecutive shutout minutes, Hayden saw his streak snapped on Sunday. Though in that loss, he recorded a season-high tying six saves in just 53:55 minutes of action. Hayden was injured in the first half and then re-entered the game in the second half, marking the first time this season he didn't play every minute of a game. Sophomore goalkeeper Trond Helge Takset recorded four saves while filling in between the pipes.

• Triple Threat
After relying heavily on the offensive production of Chris Pontius last season, the Gauchos are enjoying depth in their attack this year. Currently three Gauchos are tied for the team-lead and are second in the Big West with five goals: Danny Barrera, Michael Nonni and David Walker. Walker leads the squad with 30 shots on the season (2.14 per game). Nonni leads the Big West and ranks 23rd in the nation with his 0.50 assists per game. He also ranks 44th nationally for points per game (1.33) and 95th for goals per game (0.42). After sitting out two games due to a knee injury, Nonni re-joined the lineup on Sunday and posted one of the Gauchos' three shots on goal.

• Big West Update
With its split last week, UCSB is now 4-1 in league play and is tied with Cal Poly for first in the conference with 12 points. Meanwhile, Saturday's opponent, Cal State Fullerton, sits in third with nine points (3-2) and there is a three-way tie for fourth between UC Irvine, Cal State Northridge and UC Davis, which have all posted 2-2 records. UC Riverside sits at the bottom of the standings, still winless at 0-5.

• Among The Best
The Gauchos continue to rank 14th in the nation for scoring offense with an average of 2.0 goals per game and their won-lost-tied percentage (.750) ranks 18th nationally. Defensively, the Gauchos rank 12th for shutout percentage (.570), 37th for teams goals against average (0.84) and 54th for saves percentage (.800).

• Pulse On The Polls
UCSB has been ranked in all five national polls every week of the season. Two weeks ago, UCSB was ranked in the top-10 of all of the polls for the first time in 2009 and last week, the Gauchos cracked the top-five in all of the polls with a season-high ranking of No. 3 from the NSCAA/adidas poll. After Sunday's loss, UCSB didn't avoid the inevitable drop in the polls, but still remains in the top-10 across the board. The highest ranking is sixth by both College Soccer News and NSCAA/adidas, which also has UCSB ranked second in the Far West Region behind UCLA. UCSB is ranked seventh by Soccer Times, eighth by Soccer America and ninth by TopDrawerSoccer.com.

• RPI Report
The NCAA's first Ratings Percentage Index report was released last Tuesday and it has the Gauchos 34th on the list of all Division I programs. The RPI, which is updated throughout the season, factors into the seeding of the NCAA Tournament.

• On The Air
All the remaining 2009 contests, including postseason matches, will be broadcast in Santa Barbara on KIST 1490 AM and online at UCSBgauchos.com. Saturday's game will be broadcast live with Steve Wendt calling all the action. UCSB Athletics also has a new weekly radio show called Talk'n Gauchos which airs every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on AM 1490 KIST. The show is broadcast live from State & A Bar and Grill, located on the corner of State Street and Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara. Fans are encouraged to attend the show for free gear and ticket giveaways or to even e-mail a question in to one of the guests and have it read live over the air.

• Injury Report
Freshman defender Rob Hoyle, who has suffered a knee injury and has been forced to sit out the last two contests, will likely miss Saturday's match as well as he continues to recover. Sam Hayden, who suffered an injury above his eye against Cal State Northridge, should be able to play Saturday.

• Soccer Town USA
The 10,114 fans that showed up to the match against Indiana on Oct. 2 set a new program record for regular season home attendance and was the second largest crowd in school history behind the record 11,214 that flooded Harder for the Dec. 4, 2004 NCAA Quarterfinal game against Virginia Commonwealth. The Indiana game ranks fourth all-time in the NCAA's regular season attendance top-10. UCSB is currently averaging 5,005 fans between their eight home dates (including its two exhibitions). The top attendance for a Big West game at Harder this season was 5,842 against Cal Poly on Oct. 7.

• Get Your Tickets!
To purchase tickets for the Gauchos' upcoming games, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or click here.

• Thank You Santa Barbara News-Press
Saurday's match is brought to you by the Santa Barbara News-Press. The Santa Barbara News-Press is California's oldest daily newspaper, serving Santa Barbara County since 1855. Its award-winning local, national and international news and features are designed to meet your daily needs. Visit www.newspress.com for more details.

Santa Barbara News-Press is proud to sponsor Saturday's men's soccer match.