No. 9 UCSB Looks to Rebound and Extend its Lead on the Rest of the Big West
Oct. 28, 2003
This Week's Schedule
Wednesday, October 29th
1st place No. 9 UC Santa Barbara 11-2-1/4-1-0 Big West
vs. 3rd place UC Irvine 5-8-1/2-1-1 Big West
7:00 p.m. at UCSB's Harder Stadium
Friday, October 31st
No. 9 UC Santa Barbara 11-2-1/4-1-0 Big West (1st)
vs. San Francisco 7-9-0/2-2-0 WCC (4th)
*5:00 p.m. at UCSB's Harder Stadium
-Doubleheader with the UCSB women's team-
Soccer Times - 9th
College Soccer News - 12th
Soccer America - 17th
NSCAA/adidas Coaches Poll - 20th
Now at the midpoint of the 2003 Big West Conference season, the ninth-ranked (Soccer Times) UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team is holding onto a narrow two-point advantage over No. 16 Cal State Northridge in the league standings. Having dropped their first conference game in two years last weekend to Cal State Fullerton, the Gauchos gave up three points to CSN with five Big West games remaining, including one head-to-head match with the Matadors in Northridge next Wednesday, November 5th. This week's opponent, UC Irvine, is currently tied for third with UC Riverside, five points behind UCSB.
The nickname was originally coined for NFL quarterback Kordell Stewart, but UCSB junior Matt Bly has made it his own this season. Although listed as a forward during the first two seasons of his career, Bly has started at least one match this season as a defender, in the midfield, and as a forward. To aid a young defensive unit at the start of the season, the junior from Santa Rosa spent most of his time in the back, helping the Gauchos post five shutouts in their first eight matches. When senior David McGill went down with a injury, Bly stepped into the midfield role, tallying four assists in three games. And now once again a forward, Bly blasted home two goals in UCSB's 3-1 win at Cal Poly this past week for the first multi-goal game of his career. The junior's four assists tie him for sixth in the Big West.
Senior playmaker Memo Arzate has made a habit of forcing UCSB opponents to pay for their penalties. This past week Arzate slipped home a penalty kick in each of Santa Barbara's two games. Of the five times the Gauchos have been fouled inside the penalty box this season, Arzate has served justice four times in four tries, while Drew McAthy pounded home the other. On the flip-side, junior goalkeeper Dan Kennedy blocked his second career PK in four tries on Wednesday at Cal Poly. Adding to the feat, Kennedy blocked the second shot coming off the ensuing rebound.
It wasn't pretty, in fact it was downright ugly, the way UCSB played in its 4-1 loss at Cal State Fullerton under the smoky skies of Southern California. The loss snapped the Gauchos' 14-game conference unbeaten streak, which started after a 3-2 loss to CSF at the end of the 2001 season, leaving them two games short of the NCAA's top fifteen all-time. The four goals allowed were the most since a 4-1 loss to Oregon State in 2000.
Another one in the Win Column
It is never automatic when Santa Barbara plays Cal Poly, but when the Gauchos downed the Mustangs 3-1 last week it was their sixth straight victory over the Central Coast rival. The afformentioned Matt Bly posted the game-winning goal when he netted a loose ball after a Tony Lochhead corner kick. UCSB is yet to lose a game to Cal Poly since the Big West reistated men's soccer in 2001.
The Return of the Dynamic Duo
It was a welcome sight to see number four take the field at Cal Poly. Having missed three games due to injury, senior midfielder David McGill joined Memo Arzate in the Santa Barbara midfield two weeks ahead of schedule. Arzate and McGill in the starting lineup once again gives the Gauchos two of the top assist men in the nation. Arzate is currently leading the NCAA averaging 0.93 assists per game, while McGill remains 30th, putting up a 0.50 mark, despite playing a limited role in both games this past week.
With the loss last week to CSF the Gauchos hope to return to form when they host UC Irvine this Wednesday. Entering the week with a very deceiving 5-8-1 overall record, UCI is currently 2-2-1 and tied for third in conference. The Anteaters are unbeaten in their last three matches and have recorded wins this season over Cal and Fresno State. UCI is led by Sebastian Galmarini with four goals, three of which have come in conference play, tying him with Memo Arzate and UCR's Luc Harrington for the Big West lead. Ryan Mathy and Cameron Rossi have split time between the pipes, with Rossi getting the nod in the last two matches. However, neither have proven to very effective, putting up a team goals against average of 1.73. UCSB leads the all-time series at 23-8-2 and has posted a 3-1-1 record against the Anteaters over the last three seasons. The Gauchos scored a combined nine goals last year in their two games with UCI.
Santa Barabara closes out its non-conference schedule this Friday when it hosts the University of San Francisco in the first game of a doubleheader with the UCSB women's team. The Dons are currenlty 7-9-0 and sitting in fourth place in the powerful WCC. USF has eight players with two or more goals on the season, led by Aaron Chandler's four. The Dons have utilized three different goalies, posting a team GAA of 1.62.