November 11, 2010

Gauchos to Host Fullerton in Big West Championship

Nov. 11, 2010

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• The Schedule
Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 7 pm

UC Santa Barbara (12-4-3) vs. Cal State Fullerton (7-11-2)
Series record vs. Titans: 25-22-2
Last meeting: W, 3-0
Streak vs. Titans: W1
Game available on Gametracker
Broadcast LIVE on AM 1290 and UCSBgauchos.com

• Gauchos Advance To Third Consecutive Big West Final
No. 2 seeded UC Santa Barbara advanced to its third-straight Big West Conference Championship after defeating third-seed Cal Poly, 2-1, in overtime on Wednesday. The Gauchos will now face fourth-seeded Cal State Fullerton on Saturday with the tournament title and the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament on the line.

• Tickets Available
Tickets for Saturday's match are on sale online by clicking here. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets online and print their ticket at home to skip lines at the ticket booth on game day. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $5 for Fullerton and UCSB students, and $3 for youth. The Ticket Office will be closed for Veteran's Day on Thursday, Nov. 11, but will reopen on Friday from 9 am to 4 pm and on Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm.

• UCSB's Road To The Final
UCSB posted a 7-2-1 record in Big West play to earn the second seed into this week's tournament and hosting duties for Wednesday's semifinal with Cal Poly. The Mustangs jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute with a goal by Chris Bernardi. UCSB's David Opoku provided the equalizer in the 73rd minute and at the end of regulation time, the teams were still deadlocked at one-all. Nic Ryan scored the game-winner 7:16 into overtime to carry UCSB to the 2-1 win and the championship game.

• Fullerton's Road To The Final
Fullerton finished Big West play with a 4-6 record and received the fourth seed into the conference tourney. The Titans shocked No. 1 seed UC Irvine on Wednesday going up 2-0 in the first half behind goals from Nick Posthuma and Kevin Venegas. Fullerton held on for the 2-1 win and has advanced to the tournament final in its first season as a participant.

• A History Lesson
This marks the third season that the Big West has held a conference tournament in men's soccer. UCSB has advanced to the championship game in each of the previous two tournaments only to fall to UC Irvine both years. This is the second-straight year UCSB has hosted the championship game.

• RPI Report
The NCAA's fourth Ratings Percentage Index report was released on Tuesday and it has the Gauchos 40th on the list. UCSB has risen one spot from last week's ranking and is the highest rated Big West team; Cal Poly is 55th and UC Irvine is 62nd. The RPI, which is updated throughout the season, factors into the seeding and selection for the NCAA Tournament.

• What's At Stake
Due to their RPI, the Gauchos will likely advance to their ninth-straight NCAA Tournament even if they lose on Saturday. UCSB could rest easy though over the rest of the weekend if it picked up the Big West's automatic berth with a win against Cal State Fullerton. UCSB has not been the conference's automatic qualifier since 2007.

• Selection Show To Air Monday
The 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship selections will be announced live on ESPNU on Monday, Nov. 15 between 1:30 and 2 pm Pacific time.

• Home Sweet Harder
UCSB has posted an 8-1-1 record in matches at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium this season and has won its last eight at home. The Gauchos have gone 236-119-40 (.648) all-time at Harder Stadium and 91-23-13 (.772) since Tim Vom Steeg took over the program in 1999.

• Titan Tidbits
Cal State Fullerton enters this weekend's match with a 7-11-2 overall record. The Titans are led by Nick Posthuma, who has scored a team-leading nine goals and has 19 points on the season, while Kevin Venegas is second on the team with 16 points (7 goals, 2 assists). Trevor Whiddon has started 19 games in goal for Fullerton but sat out Wednesday's match. Bryan Escalante filled in and picked up the win over Irvine.

• The Series vs. Fullerton
UCSB leads the all-time series with CSUF, 25-22-2, and has split this season's two games with the Titans. After falling 1-0 in overtime at Fullerton on Sept. 29, UCSB defeated the Titans, 3-0, one week later at Harder Stadium. UCSB has won 12 of its last 13 contests against CSUF and has not lost at home to the Titans since Oct. 15, 2000 (1-0 in OT), a streak of nine home wins. Fullerton has not scored at Harder since the 2004 season, suffering five straight shutouts at the hands of the Gauchos dating back to 2005.

• Pulse On The Polls
UCSB is currently ranked in the top-25 of five national polls. The Gauchos' highest current rank is No. 12 by Soccer America.

• Working Overtime
Wednesday's game marked the Gauchos' eighth this season to go into overtime. UCSB improved to 2-3-3 in extra time this year with all but three of those contests taking place on the road. The Gauchos' eight overtime games are the most by the program since the 2004 season when they also played eight.

• Freshman Phenom
After scoring the equalizer and assisting the game-winner against Cal Poly, David Opoku is now second on the squad with 17 points (6 goals, 5 assists). He is one of five players on the team - along with Luis Silva, Danny Barrera, Nic Ryan and Joe Eubanks - to score two game-winning goals this year.

• Ryan To The Rescue
Sophomore Nic Ryan notched his second game-winner of the season in overtime against Cal Poly. It was just his second career goal. Ryan is one of three players on the team to have played in all 19 games this season and he has made five starts. He has scored his two goals on just six shots for a team-leading .333 shots percentage.

• Super Sam
Senior goalkeeper Sam Hayden had to make just one save against UCR last Saturday to collect his 24th career shutout with the Gauchos. He now is tied for third in the UCSB record books for career shutouts with Kyle Reynish (2003-06); he would need three more to tie second-ranked Steve Tipping (1979-83). The senior has recorded a 0.73 goals against average during his two seasons with the Gauchos, which is on-pace to set a school record, surpassing Reynish's career average of 0.81. Hayden ranks 17th nationally with his 0.71 goals against average and he ranks 27th with his .818 saves percentage.

• Sam I Am
Sophomore forward Sam Garza ranks 30th nationally among Division I players for goals (9), 33rd for total points (23), 36th for goals per game (0.53) and 35th for points per game (1.35). He also leads the Big West in points per game while ranking second to UC Irvine's Amani Walker for shots (66), points, goals and goals per game. He is also second for shots per game (3.66) behind Cal Poly's Junior Burgos. Garza will likely become the first underclassman to lead UCSB for goals in a season since Jaime Ambriz tied for the team-lead (8) as a sophomore in 1999 and he could be the first underclassman to lead the team in points since Danny Mann did it in 1995 with 22. His nine shots on Wednesday were the most in a game by a Gaucho this season.

• Silva Earns National Recognition
Junior midfielder Luis Silva was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week and the TopDrawerSoccer.com Men's Team of the Week after scoring both of the Gauchos' goals in their regular season finale against UC Riverside. The Los Angeles, Calif. native now has five goals on the season, which is tied as the most by a Gaucho in Big West games. He scored a quarter of UCSB's goals in conference play this season and had points in five of the Gauchos' last six regular season conference contests (5 goals, 2 assists).

• Assisted Living
Junior Danny Barrera leads the Gauchos and is second behind UC Irvine's Miguel Ibarra in the Big West with his seven assists. He tallied his 21st career helper on Luis Silva's second goal on Saturday, tying him for seventh on the UCSB career assists list with Will Gould (1986-89) and Scott Grasinger (1979-83). He is fourth on the squad with 13 points (3 goals, 7 assists).

• Taking Shots
UCSB has out-shot its competition in every contest this year and has held the advantage for shots in its last 21 consecutive contests, dating back to its 2009 NCAA First Round game against Wofford (Nov. 19, 2009). The Gauchos are averaging 15.7 shots per game.

• Gaucho Goals
UCSB currently ranks 36th nationally for scoring offense with an average of 1.84 goals per game and currently ranks 29th nationally for total goals (35).

• Defensive Behavior
The Gauchos have limited their opposition to an average of 0.74 goals per match, which is tied as the third lowest all-time in the UCSB record books. UCSB is ranked 16th nationally for lowest goals against average (0.70).

• Hayden Named Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Finalist
Sam Hayden was selected as a top-10 finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. The award is given annually to seniors that have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. Voting to determine the winner has begun and will run through Nov. 14 here.

• The Vom Steeg File
In his 12th year leading the Gauchos, head coach Tim Vom Steeg is the winningest coach in Big West history. Vom Steeg has posted a 169-65-25 record at the helm of UCSB and a 148-48-24 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 eight 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.

• College Cup Tickets On Sale
UCSB is the proud host of the 2010 NCAA Men's College Cup, which will take place Dec. 10 and 12 at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. This marks the first time since the 2004 season that the Cup has been held on the West Coast. All-Session passes for the College Cup can be purchased by calling (805) 893-UCSB, visiting the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or buy online by clicking here.

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