2004 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championships
Second Round Tuesday, November 23rd
No. 9 Seed UC Santa Barbara (17-2-1, 1st Big West) vs.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee (14-4-3, 1st Horizon)
UCSB's Harder Stadium Santa Barbara, Calif.
Kickoff 7:00 p.m.
Broadcast live on KCSB 91.9 FM or www.kcsb.org
For ticket and parking information click here.
Making the Chips Bigger
UC Santa Barbara heads into its third consecutive NCAA Tournament ranked No. 1 in the nation in the NSCAA/adidas coaches' poll. After starting the season ranked 15th in the NSCAA Preseason Poll, the Gauchos used a 17-2-1 overall record to propel them into the No. 1 spot to end the regular season, spending a total of five weeks, including the last two, with the billing as the nation's top team. Including the other three major national polls, UCSB was tabbed as the No. 1 squad by at least one of them in week's four, five, six, seven, ten, and now eleven. Santa Barbara also concluded the regular season atop College Soccer News' poll, and is slated at No. 2 by Soccer Times and No. 5 by Soccer America.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee Game Capsule
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament by virtie of the its 3-2 win of WCC Champion San Fransico in the first round on Saturday, November 20. Champions of the Horizon League, the Panthers come into Tuesday's match with a 14-4-3 overall record.
Offensively the Panthers are led by Antou Jallow with 17 goals on the season, including one in UWM's win over USF. Jallow entered the week with 16 goals, tying him for 13th in the nation averaging 1.80 per game. Dale Weiler is second on the team with 21 total points, thanks to his team leading 13 assists. Between the pipes the Panthers' Eric Mickschl has put up an impressive 0.73 goals against average before Tuesday's match, 13th best at the conclusion of the regular season.
The winner goes on to face the winner of No. 8 seed UNC Greensboro vs. the College of Charleston, also being played on Tuesday, November 23rd, in Greensboro, North Carolina. Should UNCG win its contest it will host the winner of the UCSB/UWM match on Sunday, November 29th at 2:00 p.m. EST. If Cof C were to beat Greensboro, and the Gauchos win they will host Charleston on Saturday, November 27th at 7:00 p.m. PST. If both UWM and C of C win, the site is yet to be determined.
Making Themselves Familiar
The Gauchos enter the 2004 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championships with a school record No. 9 seeding and a first round bye. Amidst some questioning, UCSB improved upon last season's seeding on No. 11, the program's first-ever in just its second trip to the show. Santa Barbara posted a 4-1-1 overall record against teams in this year's championships, including a 1-0 overtime victory on the road over this year's No. 2 seed Indiana, ending the defending National Champions streak of 23 games without having suffered a loss. UCSB also shutout both Seton Hall and UConn in the Huskies adidas Invitational back in week two. In their previous two appearances in the NCAA Tournament, the Gauchos have combined to post a 2-2 record with both of their wins by way of shutout. Hosting the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee this Tuesday, UCSB is a perfect 2-0 in its tournament-opening games at Harder Stadium. The Gauchos topped San Diego 2-0 in their first-ever tournament in 2002 before duplicating it with a 2-0 win against Cal in the second round of 2003.
Back Where It Belongs
It didn't come until the final week of the regular season, but the Gauchos took claim of their third Big West Conference Championship in the last four years when downed 23rd-ranked Cal State Northridge 2-1 in Harder Stadium. The Matadors finished second in the conference standings as they flip-flopped with UCSB from the 2003 table. The Gauchos put together an 8-2-0 record in Big West play this season to mark the fourth straight year that Santa Barbara has collected at least seven wins in conference competition, culminating in a 31-7-1 combined conference record since the Big West reinstated men's soccer in 2001. The Gauchos finished the regular season atop the Big West charts in wins (17), points (131), goals (40), assists (51), goals against average (0.53), shutouts (13), corner kicks (141), yellow cards (48), and attendance (24,292), averaging 1,215 per contest, more than twice as much as any other team in the conference. And out of the ten weekly conference awards handed out, UCSB had on of its student-athletes named player of the week in seven.
A Record Worth Repeating
After opening the season with a school record 11-0-1 start, it appeared as if UCSB might actually go the entire season without losing a single match. But two straight losses brought the Gauchos back into reality and they rattled off six straight wins to close out the regular season and post a 17-2-1 record, tying the squad from 2002 for best regular season mark in school history. Arguably playing a much tougher schedule this season than in '02, it is safe to say that this year's team put together the finest regular season in UCSB history, finishing with a nation's third best .875 win/loss/tie percentage, and tying for the second most wins in Division I. UNC Greensboro, who sits on the other side of the Gauchos' bracket was tops in the nation with 18 wins. UCSB has now posted double-digit win totals in each of the last four seasons, and 16-plus in each of the last three.
Gaucho Bricklayers, INC.
The UCSB men's soccer team has seen many a record fall this season, but the one that stands out the most is its nation's best 13 shutouts. Averaging 0.65 per contest, third in Division I, this year's defensive unit of Tony Lochhead, Andy Iro, Nate Boyden, Pat Scott, and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, having proven to be the stingiest in Gaucho history. Currently sporting a combined 0.53 goals against average when you mix in Kyle Reynish's shutout, the third lowest in nation, UCSB's stellar defense has given up just eleven goals in 20 contests to set yet another school record for goals allowed in a season. A true team effort, the group has limited the opposition to single-digit shot totals in ten matches, and four or less in four. And when their opponents do manage to get off a shot very rarely is it on frame, as in nine contests this season they have limited the opposition to three shots on goal or less, twice not allowing a single shot on frame. In fact, at one point this season UCSB's defense went 276 consecutive minutes without giving up a single shot on goal. But when their number is called, Kennedy and Reynish have combined to put up an outstanding .857 save percentage.
Keeping You On Your Toes
Ending the regular season tied for 27th in Division I, the Gaucho offense has produced an average of 2.00 goals per game, giving them 40 thus far on the season and tying this year's squad for 8th in school history. Having reached the 40 goal plateau in its final regular season contest at UC Irvine, Tim Vom Steeg's teams have now put together three-straight 40-plus goal season. UCSB's balanced attack, coupled with its stonewall defense, has outshot the opposition in 15 of its 20 matches, including the last 11 straight. The last team to outshoot the Gauchos was USF by a 14-8 margin, the team that UWM beat to advance to next week's second round. Since that match the Gauchos are averaging over seven more shots per game than their opponents. One of the reasons why UCSB has such a strong edge is because of its ability to keep the opposition guessing. Although McAthy and Jones have made up for a bulk of the Santa Barbara scoring, 62 of its 131 points, the remaining 69 have been dispersed amongst 17 other players, leaving opponents wondering where the next attack will start from. Of the 20 different players to take to the pitch for UCSB this season, 19 have tallied at least one point, 15 at least two, and half the team has racked up at least four. At the top, Jonathan Davis and Tino Nuñez join McAthy and Jones in with double-digit point totals. Of those four, the Gauchos' three leading goal scorers, McAthy, Jones, and Davis, are all shooting .200 or better after 20 games. And in getting the ball to the goal scorers, eight different players on UCSB's roster have tallied a minimum of three assists on the year.
On A California Roll
As much as what a team accomplishes in the regular season dictates if and where they will be placed in the NCAA Tournament, usually. It is how the team is playing heading into the tournament that will dictate if they will be successful. Over the course of their final six regular season matches, the Gauchos ran of six straight wins, with five of those coming by way of shutout. And two of UCSB wins came against teams that were currently ranked nationally, Stanford and Cal State Northridge. On once over the course of their last six contests has an opponent registered a double-digit shot total, UC Irvine in an overtime match. But what is more indicative of how UCSB is currently playing is that only once in the last six matches has it allowed more than two shots on goal, and only three times has the opposition mustered more than one. On the flip side the Gaucho offense has averaged 5.7 shots on goal, and 15.3 overall over its last six games.
Not Someone You Want To See
Now that the season is 20 games old, I think that I have found the key to UCSB's dominance...defense. Okay so it is kind of obvious, but more specifically it has been the defensive play of senior Tony Lochhead and Andy Iro. Not taking anything away from the rest of the Gauchos' defensive unit, after some digging, I have found that when both Lochhead and Iro are both in the match, scoring a goal against UCSB is nearly impossible. Of the 11 goals that Santa Barbara has given up this season, eight have come when at least one of the defenders is not on the pitch. Of the 16 matches, and the portions thereof, that both Lochhead and Iro are on the field (1,472 minutes and 38 seconds), opponents have only scored three goals for an astonshing goals against average of 0.18. Take away the penalty pick at USF and the Lochhead-Iro defense has allowed just two goals for a goals against average of 0.12.
Big West Accolades
For the fourth straight year, the Gauchos produced the Big West Conference's Offensive Player of the Year, as senior forward Drew McAthy took a share of this season's honors. 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 the Gauchos' six first teamers, midfielders Tyler Rosenlund and Nate Boyden were named All-Big West Second Team, garnering them the first all-conference honors of their careers.