No. 9 UCSB Wraps Up Regular Season Against Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside Seeking Tourney Bid
Nov. 12, 2007
Match No. 18
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
No. 9 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal State Northridge Matadors
Matador Soccer Field
Kickoff 1:00 p.m.
Match No. 19
Saturday, November 17, 2007
No. 9 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Riverside Highlanders
Kickoff 7:00 p.m.
Gauchos on the Air and Web
For Santa Barbara fans that cannot make it to Cal State Northridge on Tuesday, your friends at KCSB will have the Gauchos' clash with the Matadors live on KCSB 91.9 in Santa Barbara. Fans can also listen to the game online by logging on to www.kcsb.org. John Greely and Juan Salas will have the call live from Matador Soccer Field as UCSB looks to lock up sole possession of the 2007 Big West Championship.
Gauchos' Score Twice Late To Defeat Titans
UC Santa Barbara's rapid-firing offense struck again last week and this time it was Cal State Fullerton that fell victim as the Gauchos scored twice in the final 15 minutes to erase a 1-0 deficit and defeat the Titans 2-1 in Fullerton on Saturday. After Shay Spitz scored in the 65th minute to give the home team a 1-0 lead, UCSB responded with the equalizer 10 minutes later. A ball was deflected to David Walker at the corner of the box and he chipped a shot over the head of Titan goalkeeper Brent Douglas at the 74:42 mark. The Gauchos found the net again in the 80th minute when Alfonso Motagalvan redirected Ciaran O'Brien's low line drive kick past Douglas for the eventual game-winner with a little more than 10 minutes remaining. UCSB's dramatic comeback came with just 10 players on the field after senior defender Greg Curry received a red card at 73:47 when he pulled down the Titans' Gabriel Farfan from behind on a breakaway. The Titans appeared to have the upper hand for much of the match and recorded 16 shots to the Gauchos' 11, marking the first time an opponent has outshot Santa Barbara in conference play this season. Freshman goalkeeper Bryant Rueckner tied a career-high with seven saves in the win.
Still the Best In the West
With the victory over Fullerton, UCSB clinched at least a share of the 2007 Big West championship and can win the title outright with a win or a tie in either of its final two contests this week. The Gauchos maintained their two-game lead in the Big West standings, improving to 8-1-1 in conference play while claiming their second consecutive league crown and fifth overall since 2001. Their eight wins against Big West opponents surpassed last season's total of seven and Santa Barbara is now in position to set an all-time conference win mark with victories over Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside this week. If the Gauchos win out, they would finish with 10 victories at 10-1-1, which would be the most conference wins in program history. The 2002 squad currently holds that mark, finishing 9-0-1 in league, while the record-breaking 2004 team finished with an 8-2-0 mark against conference foes. The defending national champions have won five straight following their only loss in conference play this season Oct. 17 and have won eight of their last 10 overall to improve to a season-best 11-3-3 (.735).
Scouting the Matadors
After defeating Cal State Fullerton over the weekend, UCSB will turn right around and finish its season series with Cal State Northridge on Tuesday. The match, originally scheduled for Oct. 10 at Matador Soccer Field, was moved to Wednesday, Nov. 14th after the unfortunate death of Northridge player Jay Singh. It was then rescheduled once again last week and moved to Tuesday the 13th. Although the Gauchos' posted a convincing 3-0 win in the first meeting this season, the all-time series between the two programs has developed into one of the nation's most heated rivalries and is deadlocked at 13-13-4. Ciaran O'Brien scored two goals and assisted on a third to lead Santa Barbara to the home win on Oct. 27.
The only program other than UCSB to win a conference title since the Big West reinstated men's soccer in 2001, Cal State Northridge enters Tuesday's contest in fourth place in the Big West standings at 2-4-4 after defeating UC Riverside 1-0 on Saturday. The Matadors have won just twice in their last 11 matches and have an overall record of 6-6-6.
Northridge has outscored its opponents 20-18 through 18 matches in 2007 and ranks last in the Big West averaging 1.11 goals per match. Defensively, the Matadors have been solid and rank second in the conference with eight shutouts. Sophomore forward Sunghyun Kim leads the squad with four goals and nine points, while forward Camilo Rojas has been impressive during his freshman campaign with four goals and an assist for nine points, as well. Junior goalkeeper Kevin Guppy has started all 18 contests and owns a goals against average of 0.99 with 70 saves and has been credited with all eight shutouts.
Scouting the Highlanders
Following the early week clash with the Matadors, UCSB will wrap up the regular season at home with UC Riverside on the slate Saturday. The Gauchos hold a 17-2-0 mark against the Highlanders all-time after handing UCR a 2-1 loss on its home field in the first meeting of the year Oct. 20. Eric Avila gave Santa Barbara a 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the second half and Ciaran O'Brine came up big again, scoring the game-winner in the 63rd minute after Riverside had tied it on a goal by Zach Walker in the 49th.
UC Riverside enters competition this week in fifth place in the Big West chase with a 2-4-4 mark against league foes and an overall record of 5-6-6 after Saturday's home loss to Cal State Northridge. The Highlanders will travel to UC Irvine Tuesday before their visit to Harder Stadium this weekend.
Riverside has scored 20 goals while allowing 21 to the opposition through 17 matches in 2007. Freshman forward Cito Soriano has put in a team-high four goals and three assists for 11 points, while sophomore forward Nathan Paterson and Walker are not far behind with three goals and two assists apiece. Keeper Charles Alamo has been the guy in the net for the Highlanders, starting all 17 games and has posted a goals against average of 1.06 with six shutouts and 69 saves.
Santa Barbara continued to play excellent soccer in its only match last week and the Gauchos either climbed or held onto to last week's spot in the two national polls that were available at the time of this release. UCSB enters Tuesday's contest at Cal State Northridge with a national ranking of No. 9 in this week's Soccer America Top 25 after climbing one spot from last week's ranking of No. 10. Santa Barbara also earned a No. 11 nod in the College Soccer News Top 30, securing that spot for the second week in a row after the thrilling comeback victory at Cal State Fullerton. The NSCAA/adidas coaches poll and SoccerTimes Top 25 will be released on Tuesday. The Gauchos were ranked 13th and 12th in those two polls, respectively, last week.
UCSB Salutes Its Seniors
UCSB will recognize six outstanding senior student-athletes making their final regular season appearance at Harder Stadium on Saturday night. Gaucho seniors Tony Chinakwe, Greg Curry, Andy Iro, Tino Nuñez, Andrew Proctor, and Brennan Tennelle will be honored with a special ceremony prior to kickoff of Santa Barbara's tilt with UC Riverside. Be sure to head out to the stadium to help salute six players that have been an instrumental part of the Gauchos' success over the last four seasons.
Saturday's 2-1 come-from-behind victory marked the third consecutive game the Gauchos had trailed by a goal and come back to win. The Gauchos bounced back to defeat UC Irvine, Cal Poly, and now Cal State Fullerton after spotting all three teams one goal leads and the three victories were UCSB's first come-from-behind wins this season. Last year's squad did not come back to win a game in which it was trailing until the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Gauchos finally erased a 1-0 deficit to defeat San Diego State 2-1 in the first round and then bounced back from a 2-1 halftime hole to defeat Northwestern 3-2 and advance to the program's second College Cup. UCSB trailed seven times during the regular season in 2006 and went on to lose all seven contests.
Offense Locked In
UCSB's offense has been explosive for the better part of the season and the Gauchos continued their terror on that side at Cal State Fullerton. With its two goals against the Titans, UCSB has now scored at least twice in five straight matches and, as we have seen all year, its no coincidence that Santa Barbara came out on top in all five of those contests. UCSB has scored a total of 13 goals over its current five game winning streak and that isn't even its highest five-match output of the season (the Gauchos scored 15 times during a five game stretch from Sept. 21-Oct. Oct. 6). As a team, Santa Barbara ranks either first or second among Big West squads in every major offensive category including shots (286), goals (38), assists (35), and points (111). The Gauchos have continued to find success when scoring at least twice in 2007, posting a record of 10-0-2 when scoring two goals or more compared to a mark of 1-3-1 when scoring less than twice.
Second Half Supremacy
The Gauchos have been dominant in the second half this season, scoring 23 of their 38 goals after halftime and outscoring the opposition by a 23-10 clip in the second period. In fact 13 of Santa Barbara's 15 goals over the team's current five-match winning streak have come after halftime, including seven of the eight goals in the last three come-from-behind victories.
Remember His Name
Part of the reason UCSB's offense has been so successful this season is that several players have stepped up and contributed in a big way. There is no better example than Alfonso Motagalvan. The midfielder made a name for himself with an excellent showing in last year's College Cup, helping the Gauchos' defense limit the opposition to just one goal in 200 minutes of play. This season Motagalvan has had an impact on both sides of the field and scored what was arguably the biggest goal of his career last Saturday. The Gilroy, Calif. native punched in the game-winner against the Titans in the 80th minute when he finished an offering from Ciaran O'Brien to complete the Gauchos' thrilling comeback and clinch a share of the Big West title. After entering his junior season with just one career goal, Motagalvan has now found the net four times this season and recorded two game-winners. He also has four assists and ranks fifth on the team with 12 points.
Quite An Addition
Sophomore midfielder Ciaran O'Brien continued to be one of the primary facilitators of the Gauchos' offense last week, recording an assist on Alfonso Motagalvan's goal in the 80th minute minute. While the native of Federal Way, Wash. saw his consecutive matches with a goal streak come to an end at four -- a feat that ranks fourth on UCSB's all-time charts -- he did tally an asisst in a sixth straight contest. The first-year Gaucho has put the nation on notice the last few weeks and leads the Big West in shots (53), points (23), and assists (9). O'Brien ranks fourth behind teammate Chris Ponitus, UC Irvine's Matt Murphy, and UC Davis' Sule Anibaba in goals with seven. The transfer from the University of San Diego earned his second consecutive selection on both the College Soccer News and Soccer America National Teams of the Week after registering a goal and an assist in the Gauchos' victories over UC Irvine and Cal Poly two weeks ago.
Iro, Avila Named To Hermann Award Watch List
Senior defender Andy Iro and junior midfielder Eric Avila were recently named to the 2007 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List, marking the first time in program history that two Gauchos were selected for the prestigious list that will eventually determine the NCAA Division I Player of the Year. The defending national champions are one of only two schools in the nation that had multiple players named to the Watch List, joining senior goalkeeper Matt Allen and junior forward Byron Dacy of Creighton. UCSB has now had a total of four players named to the list after Iro received the honor in 2006 and former teammate Tyler Rosenlund was selected in 2005. The winner of the M.A.C.'s Hermann Trophy will be determined by a panel of NSCAA Division I member coaches. A list of 15 semifinalists will be announced in November, and three finalists will be named in early December in conjunction with the NCAA Division I College Cup. The final three will be invited to the Missouri Athletic Club on Friday, January 11, 2008 and the winner will be announced during a nationally-televised news conference that evening.