UCSB Takes On Stingy Duo in Harder Stadium Return

William Gillingham (Photo courtesy Gonzaga Athletics)
William Gillingham (Photo courtesy Gonzaga Athletics)

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The Schedule
Thursday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m
UC Santa Barbara vs (RV) Seattle (2-2-2)
All-time record vs. the Redhawks (W-L-T): 2-1-0
Last meeting: Sept. 2, 2018: Seattle 2, UCSB 0
Video: BigWest.TV | Audio: KCSB
Sunday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs UMBC (3-3-0)
All-time record vs. the Retrievers (W-L-T): First meeting
Last meeting: None
Video: BigWest.TV | Audio: KCSB
• Video Stream Available
UCSBGauchos.com will offer a live video broadcast of both games this weekend through Big West TV. The "Voice of the Gauchos" Gerry Fall will be on play-by-play duties, while current Gaucho athlete Carson vom Steeg will be providing color commentary throughout the broadcast. An additional audio-only stream will be available via KCSB-FM 91.9, UCSB's student radio station. A link to both broadcasts can be found on the UCSB men's soccer schedule page.
• Tweet Tweet!
Follow the @UCSBMensSoccer account on Twitter for live tweets of both games this weekend.
• The Gaucho Rewind, Matchdays 4 and 5
After back-to-back home defeats, the Gauchos found success at home with wins at Gonzaga and Oregon State, who were receiving votes in the United Soccer Coaches' poll last week. Against the Zags, sophomore striker Carter Clemmensen's 49th minute goal, his first since the first week of the 2018 campaign, was the only score in UCSB's 1-0 win. Sophomore goalkeeper Ben Roach made four saves as he achieved his first clean sheet of 2019. Three days later, freshman attacking midfielder Finn Ballard McBride earned a goal and an assist in his first collegiate start, junior left winger Ameyawu Muntari scored his first UCSB goal, and senior left winger Thibault Candia scored the game winner as the Gauchos came back from 2-1 down at Paul Lorenz Field in Corvallis, Ore.
• It's Raining Birds and Dogs
UCSB returns home for a pair of games with nationally-recognized Seattle University, receiving votes this week in the College Soccer News Top 30, and UMBC, who have appeared in the NCAA Tournament four times this decade. The last meeting between the Gauchos and Redhawks took place last season in the Pacific Northwest on Sept. 2, 2018. The Gauchos, coming off of a close loss to then-No. 27 Portland, had a night to forget in the Emerald City, getting outshot 17-0 in the first 45 minutes, 25-5 by full time, and losing 2-0. For the Gauchos and Retrievers, it's the first-ever matchup between the two on Sunday night at Harder Stadium.
• Scouting the Opposition: Seattle
Seattle arrives at Harder Stadium with an even 2-2-2 record. The Redhawks defeated San Francisco 5-0 on opening day before drawing 0-0 with No. 12 Denver at home. Then, they left Seattle for the only time so far this season to take on No. 11 Notre Dame and No. 2 Indiana in South Bend, losing to the former and playing out a scoreless draw against the latter. In their return home, Seattle defeated Portland 2-0 to win the Coffee Cup, but lost to No. 8 Washington 3-0. Goalkeeper Akili Kasim and the Redhawks defense have four shutouts to their name, slamming the door shut on every opponent except for Indiana and Washington, allowing just 9.5 shots per game. Noe Meza is the only player with multiple goals, finding the back of the net four times so far this season, including two game-winners.
• Scouting the Opposition: UMBC
After starting the season 1-3, the Retrievers are coming off back-to-back wins in which they've scored nine goals and allowed just two. The UMBC defense has allowed just seven goals on the season in six games, only conceding two goals once in their season opener. Sophomore goalkeeper Quantrell Jones has been fantastic in net on the season, protected by a strong backline featuring Icelandic freshman defender Örlygur Ómarsson. Ryan Becher leads the lines with four goals, including two scored in UMBC's 4-1 takedown of George Washington on Tuesday from corner kicks delivered by teammate Colin Weyant.
• International Duty
Senior right wingback Noah Billingsley and junior centerback Hunter Ashworth have rejoined the New Zealand U-23 national team and are unavailable for selection. They will be away on international duty for at least the Gauchos next four matches from Sept. 19 to Sept. 28, and potentially up to Oct. 5, depending on their national team's results in the upcoming Oceania Football Confederation U-23 Championship in Fiji. The Kiwi duo are looking to help their home country qualify for its first Olympics since 2012 at the tournament. Both players started each of New Zealand U-23's back-to-back friendlies with Australia U-23 two weeks ago. The first match on Sept. 6 ended in a 1-1 draw. Ashworth played the entirety of the first half before being substituted at the interval, and Billingsley played 62 minutes before being taken off. The second friendly, which took place on Sept. 9 also ended in a 1-1 draw and saw Billingsley play the entire match while Ashworth again came off at halftime.
• Double-Double
With his two assists in the match at Oregon State, senior striker Will Baynham became the second Gaucho to record multiple assists in a game this season. The Australian had the primary assists on both freshman attacking midfielder Finn Ballard McBride's equalizer in the 72nd minute and senior attacking midfielder Thibault Candia's game-winner in the 84th minute. He joins Candia on the list, as the Frenchman achieved the feat in the season-opener against UNLV.
• 'Ave Yourself a Debut!
Freshman attacking midfielder Finn Ballard McBride was named the Big West Freshman of the Week after making his starting debut in the Gauchos' 3-2 win at Oregon State. The Australian recorded his first career goal and assist in the match. 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. Ballard McBride also played 36 minutes in the Gauchos' match at Gonzaga.
• Fun for the Whole Family
The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer program is debuting a revamped kids zone this season, featuring activities such as futsal, soccer golf, soccer tennis, and obstacle courses, at Harder Stadium prior to every men's soccer home match. The kids zone will be open to season ticket holders, from 6:30 p.m. up to 15 minutes before kickoff, and also at halftime. Fans are encouraged to arrive early as there is limited space for each game and the kids zone will fill up quickly. The play area will be open to children from the ages of 6 to 12. Event staff will be present to supervise the area, but parents/guardians will be required to sign a liability waiver on the first visit. The area will be located at the north end of Harder Stadium near the Gold Zone and Gaucho Fund hospitality area.
• Single Game Tickets on Sale Now
Single game tickets to UCSB men's soccer matches are on sale now and can be purchased by online at UCSBgauchos.com, by visiting the ticket office, or calling (805) 893-UCSB.. UCSB season tickets, including a parking pass for the 2019 season, are also still available. Plans start at $50, with combo (men's and women's games) and family plans also available. Certain plans also include priority seating for the Stanford and Cal Poly games.
• Marquee Matchups
UCSB's 2019 schedule is loaded with quality opponents, including six teams that qualified for the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Pac-12 opponents Cal and Stanford highlight the home schedule, visiting Harder Stadium on either end of September. From the ACC, a traditional powerhouse conference in college soccer, Virginia Tech makes the cross-country trip to play UCSB on Sept. 1. A trip up to the Pacific Northwest to face Gonzaga and Oregon State, as well as the Blue-Green rivalry match against Cal Poly, are some of the other highlights of the non-conference schedule. In conference play, the Gauchos' home matches against Sacramento State, UC Riverside, and UC Irvine offers a chance for revenge against a trio of opponents that UCSB only managed to pick up a single point from (2-2 OT draw at UC Irvine) last season. The final three games of the season see the Gauchos hit the road, culminating in the all-important second chapter of the Blue-Green Rivalry at the Alex G. Spanos Stadium in San Luis Obispo.
• Harder Heaven
Last season, UCSB finished 9-0-1 at home, good for its best home record since the 2002 Gauchos went 10-0-0. That came a year after the Gauchos went unbeaten in eight of their 10 home matches during the regular season (4-2-4). In the Vom Steeg era (since 1999), the Gauchos boast a hearty .731 winning percentage (147-46-26).
• 2018 in Review
The Gauchos were stellar at home, but struggled on the road throughout the 2018 season. An emphatic 7-0 win over Westmont saw the Gauchos reclaim the Bryant and Sons Cup from their loss to the Warriors the year prior. The season began with home wins over St. John's and UC Riverside, in which the Gauchos only gave up one goal. The first road trip of the season saw UCSB get shut out at Portland and Seattle. After winning at home against Butler, the Gauchos picked up their lone non-conference win at New Mexico, 2-1, thanks to a pair of Thibault Candia assists. More trouble on the road would come at St. Mary's, losing a heartbreaker 1-0 in double overtime in the final minute of play. Wins over UCLA and Gonzaga at home ushered in the Big West schedule, but not before a 1-0 loss at rivals Cal Poly. The Gauchos would open Big West play with two losses in three games, an overtime win against Cal State Fullerton being the only exception. A 2-2 draw at league leaders UC Irvine pushed the Gauchos to three home wins in a row, but Fullerton got its revenge by defeating the Gauchos at Harder Stadium on penalty kicks in the first round of the Big West Tournament to bring an end to UCSB's season.
• Cream of the Crop
UCSB were picked to finish first in the Big West Preseason Coaches' Poll, receiving 53 points, tallied from the coaches' votes in which teams were ranked from 1-8 and assigned a corresponding point value, two points ahead of second-placed UC Irvine and eight ahead of CSUN. UCSB also received three first-place votes, whereas Irvine received two, and Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside, and Cal Poly had one apiece.