Fifth-Ranked Gauchos Break From Big West Play to Host UC Davis and 18th-Ranked Stanford
This Week's Schedule
Thursday, November 4
No. 5 UC Santa Barbara (13-2-1) vs. UC Davis (5-7-2)
Harder Stadium Santa Barbara, Calif.
Kickoff 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 6th
No. 5 UC Santa Barbara (13-2-1) vs. No. 18 Stanford (7-4-5)
Harder Stadium Santa Barbara, Calif.
Kickoff 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara climbed back into top 5 this week, claiming the No. 5 spot in the NSCAA/adidas coaches poll after its 1-0 win at Cal State Fullerton, up one from last week's No. 6 national ranking. With their return, the Gauchos have spent six weeks ranked in the top 5 in at least one of the major polls this season, now in its tenth week. After suffering their just their first and only two losses of the season, UCSB has reeled off two straight shutout victories to improve to 13-2-1 overall, the fifth best record in the nation, and 6-2-0 in Big West play, strengthening its hold on first place in the conference. The Gauchos are also ranked 6th, 7th, and 8th by Soccer Times, College Soccer News and Soccer America, respectively.
UC Davis Game Capsule
When the Gauchos take the field on Thursday they have yet another chance to make school history. Having posted its 10th shutout of the season last weekend, UCSB has the first chance to tie the squad from 1981 for most shutouts in a season when it faces UC Davis this week, a team that is averaging 1.1 goals per contest.
Santa Barbara could also break into the offensive record books against the Aggies, needing just three more goals to move into UCSB's top ten all-time. As a matter of fact it is almost expected for this year's squad to surpass the 1981 team's mark of 38 because not since 2001 has a Tim Vom Steeg coached club not posted a top ten performance. Last year's squad put up 50 goals for fourth all-time, and the 2002 team set the school record with 67.
Making the transition to a full-fledged Division I program, UC Davis is in the first of its three seasons at the probationary level before becoming a Big West member in the fall of 2007. Playing an entire DI schedule for the first time the Aggies boast a 5-7-2 record, just under .500 with all but one of their opponents being Division I. Having tied Stanford 1-1 three weeks ago, UCD is led by senior forward Ryan Shaw who last game set a new Davis career goal scoring record with his seventh goal of the season and the 41st of his career.
Stanford Game Capsule
Currently ranked 18th in Soccer America's Top 25, Stanford comes to Santa Barbara with a 7-4-5 overall record. After starting the season out 6-1-3, the Cardinal went five straight games without picking up a win (0-3-2) before last week's 2-0 shutout victory over Oregon State. But don't be fooled by the winless streak as four of those five games were Pac 10 contests against opponents who currently sit in the Top 25. In fact, all but one of Stanford's nine non-wins have come against teams that have were ranked in the Top 25 at some point this season.
In effort to express thanks to the fans who have come out to support the Gauchos this season, UCSB leads the Big West with an average attendance of 1260 for its matches, the UC Santa Barbara Athletic Department is offering a special 2-for-1 ticket promotion for Saturday's match against Stanford. Meaning for every ticket purchased, the fan will receive a second ticket to the match of equal or lesser value for free. In order to take advantage of the 2-for-1 special you must present a special coupon at the time you purchase the ticket. The coupon is currently available by clicking here and will be available at Thursday's UC Davis match and at Saturday's AYSO games on Storke Field.
I Can See Clearly Now, Well Almost
Due to the enormous amount of weather related postponements and reschedules, the race for the 2004 Big West Championship remains a bit blurry. UCSB has played eight total conference matches, the most of any team, compared to UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton's five Big West matches played, giving the Gauchos an extra nine points possible over UCI and CSUF. The remaining three league schools have all played six conference games. But after this week the field should tighten up with UCSB, who holds a seven point lead over second place Cal State Northridge with 18, taking a break from Big West play, the rest of the conference will play four key matches. Following Saturday's Big West matches every team will have played at least seven conference games, painting a clearer picture as to just how the conference race will shake out. CSUN, UC Riverside, and UC Irvine are all still in contention for the title with UCSB, based upon each team winning-out UCSB can earn a possible league-high 24 points, Northridge can rack up 23, Riverside can get a total of 22, and Irvine with five games remaining can tally 21 points.
No Shots Equals No Goals
Usually when UCSB puts together back-to-back shutouts there is not much to talk about, after all it opened the season with five straight, but it is how the Gauchos have blanked their last two opponents that is remarkable. In Santa Barbara's last two wins they have not allowed a single shot on goal, allowing for goalkeepers, sophomore Kyle Reynish and senior Dan Kennedy, to post the Gauchos' 10th and 11th shutouts of the season, respectively, without even having to make a save. And although they didn't have to stop and shots on frame, do not discount just how well both have directed UCSB's back three of junior Pat Scott, freshman Andy Iro, and senior Tony Lochhead, as well as their ability to pickoff crossing passes, taking away their opponents' chances to take shots in the first place. And when the opposition does manage to get a shot off Kennedy, Reynish, and few select defenders, have combined for a stellar .853 save percentage, denying 58 of a total 68 shots on goal this season. On a national level Kennedy is currently ranked ninth in the nation with a season goals against average of 0.64, and as a team the UCSB defense's 0.63 shutouts per game ranks fourth while its 0.60 GAA stands at seventh. In closing, dating back to the Gauchos' match against UC Irvine the defense has not allowed a shot on goal in UCSB's last 190 minutes of play.
The Best Ever
For the last two years senior forward Drew McAthy has said that he will become UCSB's all-time leading goal scorer, well now he can finally make that claim. When McAthy buried his penalty kick in the 27th minute of Gauchos' 1-0 win at Cal State Fullerton he broke from the tie that he was in with Scott Grassinger ('79-'83) and put his name by itself at the top with 47 career goals. But the title of UCSB's Greatest Goal Scorer was not all that McAthy received after scoring his 12th goal of the season, College Soccer News named the three-time All-Big West honoree to its National Team of the Week, becoming the fifth Gaucho to be named to the squad in 2004. In addition to the national honors, the Big West named McAthy, who is currently tied for 16th in the nation averaging 0.75 goals per game, its Player of the Week, marking the sixth time this season that a UCSB has received the honor. Mixing in his four assists on the year, McAthy is now averaging 1.75 points per game to put him in a tie for 14th in the nation. Should he continue at that pace McAthy will also break Grassinger's all-time scoring record of 113 points, needing just six more to tie with four regular season games remaining.
Although it is still somewhat early for the yearly awards, the Gauchos are already starting to rack them up. Top Drawer Soccer (www.topdrawersoccer.com), a new up-and-coming soccer website that covers everything from the club to the national team level, released its 2004 All-Freshman teams earlier this week, and on those teams were two UCSB newcomers. Midfielder Tyler Rosenlund, a member of Canada's U20 National Team, garnered first teams honors with his two goals and four assists for a team-high eight points amongst the freshman. Fellow U20 National Team member Myles Davis made TDS's Third Team for his defensive abilities, in the 16 matches this season Davis has appeared in 14 games, starting 10, tying for the second most starts this season by a freshman.