UCSB Hosts UC Riverside in Big West Quarterfinals on Wednesday

Rodney Michael (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Rodney Michael (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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• The Schedule
Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 7:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Riverside (4-12-1, 4-5-1)
Harder Stadium - Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Highlanders: 25-4-2
Last meeting: Sept. 30, 2017 - UCSB def. UCR, 3-1
UCSB form: T W L T L
UCR form: W L T W W
Video / Live Stats

Saturday, Nov. 4 at TBA
Big West Semifinals
Winner of UCSB/UCR at No. 1 Cal State Fullerton

• Video Stream Available
UCSBGauchos.com will offer a live video broadcast through Big West TV. Gerry Fall, Voice of the Gauchos, will be on hand for play-by-play duty while Dylan Murphy will provide color commentary. A link to the broadcast can be found on the UCSB men's soccer schedule page or by clicking here

•Ticket Information
Season tickets and individual game tickets are available online here or call the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office at 805-893-UCSB (8272). UCSB students receive free entry with a valid student ID. 

• Last Week in Review
The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team played to its fourth scoreless draw this season against Sacramento State on Wednesday before falling 4-1 to Blue-Green rival Cal Poly on Saturday. UCSB outshot the Hornets 11-3, including 4-1 in the two overtime periods, but were unable to find the back of the net to set a school record with their fourth scoreless draw of the year, all four of which have been at home. 

After battling Cal Poly to one of its four scoreless draws at Harder Stadium two weeks ago, there were plenty of goals to go around in a 4-1 loss to the Mustangs. Rodney Michael continued his stellar freshman campaign with an unassisted goal from the top of the box in the 19th minute to put UCSB ahead 1-0. After that it was all Cal Poly, as the home team scored right before the end of the first half and then three times in the second half to put the game away. The attendance of 11,075 was the seventh straight sellout at Cal Poly for the match against UCSB, and it was the first time since 2008 that Cal Poly outdrew the Gauchos in  a Blue-Green Rivalry match. UCSB had 10,293 on hand for its matchup with Cal Poly at Harder Stadium. 

• Playoff Picture
UCSB clinched the No. 2 seed in the North Division and will host the South Division's No. 3 UC Riverside on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at Harder Stadium. In the other quarterfinal matchup, the North Division's No. 3 Sacramento State will travel to No. 2 seed in the South, CSUN. The winner of UCSB/UCR will travel on Saturday, Nov. 4 to play at the South's No. 1 seed, Cal State Fullerton. The Sacramento State/CSUN winner will travel to No. 1 UC Davis, the top seed in the North. From there, the winners of the semifinals will meet in the Big West Tournament Championship on Saturday, Nov. 11 at the site of the highest remaining seed. 

• Riverside Rematch
Wednesday's Big West Tournament Quarterfinal match will be the second time UC Riverside will square off against the Gauchos at Harder Stadium in 2017. The two teams met in September towards the beginning of conference play, and UCSB came away with a 3-1 victory behind goals from Michael, Noah Billingsley and  Alex Liua. The Highlanders scored first in the match with a goal from Eduardo Sanchez, but the Gauchos rallied for the win at home. 

• Big West Tournament History
UCSB is 5-7-1 all-time in the Big West Tournament since it began in 2008. The Gauchos earned the automatic bid after winning the tournament in 2010 and have fallen in the title game four times (2008, 2009, 2011, and 2015). UCSB lost in the semifinals in 2013, 2014 and 2016. The Gauchos have never faced UC Riverside in the Big West Tournament. 

• UCSB Ties Record for Ties
The Gauchos have five draws this season, tying a program record for most draws in a season set by the 2008 Gauchos soccer team. The four scoreless ties do set a program record and puts UCSB just one scoreless draw away from tying the NCAA record of five, set by New Hampshire in 2010. 

• Overtime Affair
UCSB has played in seven overtime matches this season, including five in its last eight games. The Gauchos are 2-0-5 in games that have needed extra minutes this season with four of the draws being scoreless. 

• Home Sweet Home
The Gauchos have enjoyed the friendly confines of Harder Stadium this season, going unbeaten in eight of their 10 matches at home (4-2-4), compared to a 2-5-1 record on the road. In their longest homestand, of the year UCSB was perfect, winning all five games, including an exhibition match against Club América U-20. Historically, UCSB has been dominant at home, with a winning percentage of .724 (138-45-25) in the Tim Vom Steeg era (since 1999). 

• He's a Keeper
Freshman goalkeeper Alan Carrillo has been the anchor of a strong UCSB defense that has registered seven shutouts in 18 matches this season. The La Mirada, Calif. native and St. John Bosco High School product has earned Big West Defensive Player of the Week honors twice this season, and for the year, now has 50 saves and leads the Big West with seven shutouts while ranking second in minutes with 1695:28.

• Michael Making his Mark
Freshman forward Rodney Michael has made an immediate impact this season and leads the team with eight goals and four assists. Six of his goals and three of his assists have come during conference play where he ranks second among offensive leaders with 15 points. After tallying a point in seven of eight matches at one point earlier in the year, Michael continued his strong play last week with the long UCSB goal of the week. 

• Tale of Two Septembers
After starting the season 0-4-2 and losing its first four matches in September, the Gauchos finished the month on a four-match winning streak, and five-in-a-row if you include a 2-1 exhibition win over Club América U-20. It is the second consecutive season that UCSB has had both a four-game winning streak and a four-game losing streak. Prior to the last two seasons, that had not happened since 1994.

• Thank You Seniors!
Last Wednesday marked the final regular season home match for five seniors who were a part of three consecutive Big West North Division titles, four Big West Tournament appearances and one NCAA Tournament appearance in 2015 where the Gauchos defeated South Carolina. The UCSB Department of Athletics would like to recognize, congratulate and thank seniors Randy Mendoza, Josue Salgado, Seo-In Kim, Omar Montalvo and Alex Liua for their dedication to the men's soccer program over the past four years.

• Incoming Impact
The Gauchos incoming class was ranked as the No. 15 recruiting class in the nation by College Soccer News. California Gatorade Player of the Year from Dunn School, Rodney Michael, leads the group of signees and will factor in prominently on the attacking front. Michael was also named to Top Draw Soccer's Preseason Best XI Freshman Team. In the exhibition against Westmont, UCSB featured a defense full of newcomers that included goalkeeper Alan Carrillo, Adrian Adames, Frazer Poulter and Kavian Kashani. At forward, Ignacio Tellechea will be a factor as well after transferring from West Virginia Tech, where he scored 20 goals last season. 

• Big West Preseason Poll
For the fifth consecutive season, UCSB was selected by the eight conference head coaches to repeat as Big West North Division Champions. The Gauchos have yet to let any of the voters down as they have claimed the title each of the past four seasons and will look to continue the trend in 2017. UCSB earned six-out-of-eight first place votes and garnered a total of 28 points while UC Davis was picked to finish second with 25 points and one first place vote. Cal Poly received the only other first place vote and ranked third with 17 points while Sacramento State rounded out the poll in fourth with 10 points. Cal State Northridge tallied 30 points and six first place votes to lead the South Division Poll.