Gauchos Wrap Up Regular Season at Sac State, vs. UC Davis

Photo by Eric Isaacs
Photo by Eric Isaacs

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• The Schedule
Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 3:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara vs. Sacramento State (8-6-2, 4-3-1)
Hornet Field in Sacramento, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Hornets: 12-4-3
Record vs. Sac St. in Vom Steeg era: 11-1-2
Last meeting: UCSB 1-1 Sac St. (11/12/16)
2015 series: split 1-1
UCSB form: W T W W T
Sac St. form: L T L W W

Sunday, Oct. 30 at 2:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Davis (7-8-2, 3-5-0)
Harder Stadium
All-time record vs. the Aggies: 22-7-5
Record vs. UCD in Vom Steeg era: 18-5-3
Last meeting: UCSB 2-1 UCD (OT, 10/19/16 @ UCD)
2015 series: UCSB goes 3-0-0 against UCD
UCSB form: W T W W T
UCD form: T L W L L

• Week in Review
UCSB played a lot of soccer last week, going 1-0-1 in a pair of overtime games against division rivals UC Davis and Cal Poly. At Davis on Wednesday, the Gauchos shook off a slow start and a 1-0 deficit with a torrid second half that resulted in a 78th minute equalizer from Kevin Feucht. Just three minutes into OT, Nick DePuy finished off a Dalton Pando through ball for his 16th career game-winner. UCSB returned to Harder on Saturday to host Cal Poly on Fox Sports Prime Ticket, but neither team could find a goal in the scoreless draw. UCSB pretty much dominated the run of play, producing a number of near-goal opportunities while Cal Poly registered just two shots for the whole contest, including none over the final 56 minutes.

• Gauchos on the Air will offer broadcasts of both UCSB men's soccer games this week. First, Gerry Fall will have a radio broadcast from Hornet Soccer Field in Sacramento, and then UCSB will carry a live video stream of Sunday's regular season finale against UC Davis. Links to both broadcasts can be found on the men's soccer schedule page

• Red-Hot Gauchos
It appears that UCSB has completely moved past its five-game slide from September, as the Gauchos enter the week on an eight-game unbeaten streak, the longest for the program since 2013 (11 games). Paired with the four-game win streak to open the season, 2016 is just the second year in the past five where UCSB has strung together multiple four-game unbeaten streaks.

• At the Summit
Heading into the final week of the season, the Gauchos find themselves at the top of the Big West North standings with 18 points from league play. UCSB needs a win or draw on Wednesday to wrap up a division title, or can ensure the North and Big West regular season championships with two points over its final two games.

• Crashing the Gates
To the surprise of nobody, this month's two UCSB-Cal Poly games have drawn huge crowds. Last Saturday's tilt at Harder brought in 11,424 fans – the highest draw of any NCAA game this season – while the Oct. 15 contest at Spanos Stadium in San Luis Obispo saw a sellout crowd of 11,075. If those figures hold, this will be the fifth straight year that the Blue-Green Rivalry games will be the two highest-attended men's soccer games of the season. UCSB-Cal Poly games now comprise 15 of the top-20 regular season on-campus draws in NCAA history.

• Big Three
UCSB's veteran core – Nick DePuy, Ahinga Selemani, and Feucht – has accounted for 22 of the team's 29 goals this season (76%), including the last six straight. They are three of the Big West's top five goalkscorers this season. A trio of UCSB newcomers account for six of the team's other goals (Daniel Amo, Noah Billingsley, Dalton Pando with two apiece) while senior midfielder Josue Espana has the final tally.

• Defense Stepping Up
After a six-game stretch which saw UCSB allow 17 goals, the Gauchos have stepped it up on the defensive side of the ball big time. UCSB has now gone seven straight games allowing a single goal or fewer, the team's longest streak this season. The Gauchos rank second in Big West play with a 0.80 goals against average.

• Lots of Le Roux
Despite being a true freshman, goalie Titouan Le Roux has been entrusted with a heavy work load this season. The French national leads the entire NCAA with 1608:12 minutes between the sticks. In league play, he ranks second among Big West keepers with a 0.80 GAA, while his .774 save percentage ranks fourth.

• Playoff Bound
With last week's win over the Aggies, UCSB clinched a berth in the Big West Tournament, meaning the Gauchos will be playing postseason soccer for the 14th time in the past 15 seasons.

• Offense in High Gear
All season, UCSB has proven itself to have one of the most dynamic offenses in the country, as the Gauchos have scored more goals (29), produced more assists (27), and totaled more points (85) than any other Big West team. The Gauchos rank 17th nationally in total goals and points.

• Confident in Conference Play
UCSB has been dominant in conference play over the past three-plus seasons, accruing a 25-4-9 record and taking home the regular season title each year. The Gauchos' 83 combined points in league play over that span are easily the most of any Big West school, with all other teams racking up between 40 and 55 points.

• Drama Majors
The Gauchos have shown a penchant for drama over the past month-plus, going to overtime in seven of their past 11 games after reaching extra time just once in their opening six contests. UCSB has gone 7-3 this season in one-goal games, with the three losses coming in three straight games from Sept. 17-24, including a controversial loss to UCLA and an overtime heartbreaker against Cal.

• Perfect 10
UCSB's next win will give the squad 10 wins on the season, making it 16 straight years the program has reached double-digit victories. The Gaucho men's soccer program had just five 10+ win seasons in the books when Tim Vom Steeg was hired in 1999.

• Catalyts
UCSB's potent strike tandem of Nick DePuy and Ahinga Selemani rank 1-2 in the Big West in shots, averaging 3.29 and 2.59 per game, respectively.

• Streak Snapped
Saturday's scoreless draw with Cal Poly snapped a five-game points streak for Ahinga Selemani, who has been one of the hottest players in the Big West over the past month. The Michigan transfer netted goals in four straight from Oct. 6-15 en route to back-to-back Big West Offensive Player of the Week honors, then added an assist on Feucht's equalizer at UC Davis. The speedster is tied for the lead with four goals in Big West play. For the season, he ranks fourth in the league in goals (six) and first in game-winners (three).

• Consistent Feucht
The Cal Poly game provided a rare sight for UCSB fans this season: a scoresheet without Kevin Feucht's name on it. The German national has a point in 10 of the team's 17 games, while his 10 goals and 22 points are tops in the Big West. The box-to-box beast has also been on the field for all but 35 of UCSB's 1,608 minutes of action this season (98%). Earlier this season, he became the sixth Gaucho ever to record a goal in five straight games.

• DePuy Plugging Away
The Big West's active career leader in goals (31), points (66), shots (219), and game-winning goals (16), Nick DePuy has chipped in six goals this season despite drawing heavy coverage and taking a physical beating every game. He has been unlucky lately as well, hitting the crossbar in two of the past three games. DePuy was a 2015 All-American and MAC Hermann Semifinalist after leading the country with 15 regular season goals. All-time, UCSB is 19-2-6 when DePuy scores a point.

• Looking for Revenge
UCSB has just one loss ever to Sacramento State in the Tim Vom Steeg era, but that came last year at Hornet Soccer Field. The Gauchos had won six previous at Sac State previous to that.

• Antagonizing the Aggies
UCSB has won five straight games against UC Davis, including three victories during the 2015 season. The Aggies' last win at Harder Stadium came back in 2012.