November 6, 2006

No. 17 UCSB Advances to Fifth-Straight NCAA Tournament

Nov. 6, 2006

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The 17th-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team earned an automatic bid into the 2006 NCAA Tournament, it was announced today. The Gauchos, who are making a fifth consecutive trip to the tourney, will open the postseason the same way they did last year--hosting San Diego State on Saturday, November 11 in Harder Stadium.

Ranked No. 17 in this week's Soccer America Top 25, UCSB won the Big West Conference on the final day of the regular season after a 4-0 win over UC Riverside coupled with UC Irvine's 1-0 loss at Cal State Northridge. The Aztecs finished the season with a 9-5-4 overall record and a second place finish in the Pac-10 Conference.

Unseeded in this year's tournament, the winner of the UCSB/SDSU match-up will go on to face No. 3 seed Southern Methodist University on Wednesday, November 15 at 7:00 p.m. at SMU's Westcott Field in Dallas, Texas.

"We're happy with the way things turned out," head coach Tim Vom Steeg said. "Obviously, were thrilled to have a home game and we like the match-up with San Diego State. They are a great squad with some quality decisions, but you always feel better facing a team that you've seen during the season."

In 2005, UCSB earned an at-large bid into the tournament and hosted San Diego State in the first round. The Gauchos defeated the Aztecs 2-0, before advancing to the second round, where they fell 3-2 at Big West rival Cal State Northridge.

Santa Barbara is a combined 7-4-0 in NCAA Tournament play dating back to 2002, the first season it qualified for the Big Dance, and owns a perfect 4-0-0 mark in opening round (first or second) matches. In addition to downing SDSU in last year's first round, the Gauchos topped San Diego 2-0 in the opening round of the 2002 tourney, defeated Cal 2-0 in the second round in 2003, and beat Wisconsin-Milwaukee 2-1 in the second round two years ago. All four victories have come at Harder Stadium.

The Gauchos defeated the Aztecs 1-0 on a goal from Bongomin Otii September 2.

Tickets prices for the match can be purchased at the UCSB Athletic Ticket Office or by calling 805-893-UCSB. They can also be purchased at the gate the day of the event, one hour prior to kickoff. Prices are $10 for adults and $5 children under 12 and students with a valid ID.

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