Nov. 16, 2004
Santa Barbara, Calif. - For the fourth straight year, top-ranked UC Santa Barbara has produced the Big West Conference's Offensive Player of the Year, as senior forward Drew McAthy took a share of this season's honors it was announced today. UCSB had eight players in all earn all-conference honors and head coach Tim Vom Steeg earned the first Big West Coach of the Year award of his career.
In addition to McAthy's co-offensive accolades, senior netminder Dan Kennedy was named the Big West's Goalkeeper of the Year for the second consecutive season, while defenders Tony Lochhead, a senior, and Andy Iro, a freshman, earned the conference's defensive and freshman player of the year awards, respectively. Joining McAthy, Kennedy, Lochhead and Iro on the All-Big West First Team were senior forward Neil Jones and junior defender Pat Scott, giving the 2004 Big West Champions six first team selections.
Along with Santa Barbara's six first teamers, midfielders Tyler Rosenlund, a freshman, and Nate Boyden, a junior, were named All-Big West Second Team, garnering them the first all-conference honors of their careers.
Now in his sixth season at the helm of the Gauchos' program Vom Steeg guided this year's team to a school record (tie) 17-2-1 regular season record and its first ever No. 1 national ranking, spending a total of five weeks atop the polls, including this week. This season he led UCSB to its third Big West title in the last four years with an 8-2-0 record in conference play.
This year's award for McAthy marks the third consecutive season that the striker has been named to the conference's first team, and the fourth consecutive that he has been listed, marking the first time in program history that a player has earned all-conference honors in each of his four seasons. Right beside McAthy in his four-for-four accomplishment is Kennedy and Lochhead, both whom have also been named All-Big West in each of their four seasons, earning first team honors this year for the second consecutive time.
McAthy joined another elite club in receiving the Offensive Player of the Year award after leading the conference with 35 points (15 goals, 5 assists), joining formers Gauchos Rob Friend ('01, '02)and Memo Arzate ('03), both of whom are currently playing professionally, as the fourth straight Gaucho to be recognized at the conference's top offensive player. With 50 career goals and 114 career points, McAthy enters next week's NCAA tournament at UCSB's all-time scoring champion in both goals and total points.
There was no doubt as to who would be named the conference's goalkeeper of the year award, finishing the regular season with a nation's fifth best 0.54 goals against average, Kennedy's closest competition posted a 1.37 mark for the year. Tying UCSB's single season record with his 11th complete game shutout of the year last week, the two-time GOY enters the NCAA tourney with a 0.88 career goals against average.
Jones' appearance on the first team is the first of his career, jumping up from last season's second team recognition. Playing alongside McAthy, Jones ended the regular season third in the conference in both goals and assists, netting 10 tallies himself while dishing off for another seven.
Rosenlund was just one of four freshman to be recognized by Big West after finishing tied for sixth in the conference with five assists. He also scored two goals during the regular season.
No. 1 UCSB's remaining four all-conference honorees all played a collective roll in establishing one of the top defensive units in the nation. Anchored by Lochhead, the Big West's Defensive Player of the Year, the four of them put together a nation's best 13 shutouts on the season to set a new Gaucho record. The conference's freshman of the year, Iro, who was the only freshman represented on the first team, started all 17 matches for which he was eligible in his first season wearing a UCSB uniform. Along with Boyden and Scott, who where also recognized for the first times in their careers, the Gaucho defense this season limited its opponents to two shots on goal or less in seven of their 20 matches.
Seeded 9th in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, and ranked No. 1 in the NSCAA/adidas coaches' poll, UCSB's eight all-conference honorees were second only to Cal State Northridge who paced with nine.
The Gauchos begin NCAA tourney play next week when they host the winner of San Francisco vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the second round on Tuesday, November 23, 2004. Tickets for the match can be purchase presale by calling 805-893-UCSB.