The Gauchos got on on the right foot in a new leg of their spirited rivalry with the neighboring Westmont College Warriors. The powerful NAIA program led the overall series 22-10-4 before Friday afternoon's showdown in Montecito. Under new lawman (head coach) Tim Vom Steeg, UCSB topped Westmont on the strength of a Lucas Dalgleish changeup that floated over the six foot six inch Westmont keeper's hands as the final horn sounded. Dalgleish's goal was the junior reserve forward's second of the season. The meeting was the first between Vom Steeg and Westmont head coach Dave Wolf, two of the most successful local coaches in recent years.
The UC Irvine Anteaters didn't come to Harder Stadium to spend quality time with their Gaucho cousins Sunday. The visitors edged UCSB 1-0 with a goal in the 89th minute. The loss marked the first time the Gauchos had been shutout thus far this season. The match was a physical one, played to the tune of eight yellow cards and two ejections. The final kickout was the most costly for UCSB, as it lost its prolific goalscorer, Thiago Martins, in the 75th minute. Martins was red-carded on a physical play near the left sideline. By NCAA rules, he will have to sit out the Gauchos' next match, a home date with San Jose State this Saturday. * UCSB and UCI will play an MPSF match later this season. The Gauchos will play at Irvine October 17.
Back in the Saddle
UCSB Gaucho goalkeeper Stewart Sanders is back doing what he does best, namely play goalkeeper. Sanders, almost entirely out of action for the last three seasons, has come back strong as a supersenior to anchor the Gaucho defense. Sanders has started all but one of UCSB's matches this season. In those eight matches, he has surrendered only eight goals (1.00 GAA), while making an impresssive 34 saves. The fifth-year Gaucho has also recorded three shutouts, upping his career total to ten and tying him for fifth all-time among UCSB keepers. Sanders blanked opponents seven times as a freshman in 1995, when he posted a 1.07 GAA for the last UCSB team to make a postseason appearance.
What's in a Name?
Don't let the Gauchos' opponents fool you, UCSB has not played any MPSF matches yet. Although head coach Tim Vom Steeg's squad has faced Cal Poly, Denver, Sacramento State and UC Irvine, none of those matches will go into the conference tallies. UCSB will begin MPSF play October 8 when it travels to Cal State Fullerton. The MPSF schedule includes seven games. The 1998 Gauchos went 0-8-1 in conference play, tying with Sacramento State for ninth in the MPSF.
"And That Ain't Bad!"
Although they may be disappointed with Sunday's loss to Irvine, the Gauchos are by no means hanging their heads. At 6-3-0, UCSB is off to its best start since 1995, when it last advanced to postseason play with a berth to the MPSF playoffs. The 1999 Gauchos have already posted wins against Cal Poly, Sac State and Westmont, none of which they defeated in 1998.
The Bottom Line: Gaucho Scoring Leaders
Points: Thiago Martins 14 (6, 2), Jaime Ambriz 7 (3, 1), Sean Herrity 6 (3, 0), Lucas Dalgleish 5 (2, 1).