Ballard McBride Named Big West Freshman of the Week

Ballard McBride Named Big West Freshman of the Week

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Freshman attacking midfielder Finn Ballard McBride of the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team was named the Big West Conference Freshman of the Week, the conference office announced on Monday afternoon.

The Sydney, Australia-native earns the Gauchos' first weekly award of the season following his first career start at Oregon State, a team that was receiving votes in the United Soccer Coaches' poll, in which he recorded the first goal and assist of his UCSB career.

For his assist, Ballard McBride picked up the ball at midfield and ran towards the defense, where he drew coverage and passed it to junior left winger Ameyawu Muntari who buried his chance to put the Gauchos ahead 1-0.

Later in the match, he finished a chance delivered by Muntari via senior striker Will Baynham to score the 2-2 equalizer.

"In what was his first start for us, Finn [Ballard McBride] did more than just get a goal and assist, but he also gave us a big attacking presence next to Will [Baynham]. That's something we haven't had this season and it made Will a better player," head coach Tim Vom Steeg said of the freshman's performance after the match.

The Gauchos would go on to win the match 3-2 after senior left winger Thibault Candia's strike in the 84th minute.

The Newington College product also played a hand in securing the Gauchos' first clean sheet of the season on Thursday night against Gonzaga, playing 36 minutes against the Zags as one of three players that came off the bench for Vom Steeg.

UCSB returns home for matchups with Seattle and UMBC this week. The Redhawks visit on Thursday night, while the Retrievers arrive on Sunday. Both games are scheduled to kick off at 7 PM.

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