Gauchos’ NCAA Tournament Run Continues Sunday at Indiana

(Photo by Bill Truong)
(Photo by Bill Truong)
The Schedule
NCAA Tournament Third Round
Sunday, December 1 at 9 a.m. PST
UC Santa Barbara at [5] Indiana
Indiana (15-2-4, 7-1-0 Big Ten, 10-0-2 home)
All-time record vs. the Hoosiers (W-L-T): 3-1-1
Record vs. the Hoosiers in the NCAA Tournament: 0-0-1
Hoosiers' record in NCAA Tournament: 92-33-5
Hoosiers' record in NCAA Tournament Third Round (after 2001): 7-6-1
Last meeting: Oct. 2, 2009: at UCSB 3, Indiana 0
• Match to be Broadcast on Big Ten Network
The Gauchos' Sweet 16 match against fifth-seeded Indiana will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network and via the FOX Sports GO app at 9 a.m. Pacific/12 p.m. Eastern. Dean Linke is the play-by-play broadcaster, while Patrick Doody joins him on color.
• Audio Stream Available will offer an audio-only broadcast of Sunday's game. Sports Information Director Arthur Wilkie will handle the play-by-play, while current Gaucho student-athlete Carson Vom Steeg will deliver color commentary. The pregame show will go live at 8:45 a.m. The broadcast can also be found above or on the men's soccer schedule page.
• We're Going Dancing!
For the first time since 2015, UCSB has qualified for the NCAA Tournament following a highly successful season. Despite numerous injuries and international call-ups to several key members of the squad, head coach Tim Vom Steeg managed to lead his team to an 11-3-4 regular season finish and a top 25 RPI. That was good for second in the Big West, which afforded the Gauchos a bye into the semifinal of the conference tournament, and a win over CSUN in that match vaulted UCSB into the Big West Tournament final. Despite a loss away to UC Davis in the title match, the Gauchos still found themselves in a comfortable position RPI-wise and landed in their 13th NCAA Tournament on Selection Monday.
• Gauchos in the NCAA Tournament: Stats and Fast Facts
UCSB's national championship in 2006 began with a first round victory against San Diego State at home.
After Sunday's game at Saint Mary's, the Gauchos are 20-10-2 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, sporting a 13-2-0 home record.
The Gauchos have a 4-4-2 overtime record in the NCAA Tournament.
Santa Barbara has seen its games go to penalty kicks twice: first in the 2004 College Cup final vs Indiana (the Hoosiers won 3-2 on penalties), and then in the 2006 College Cup semifinal vs Wake Forest (the Gauchos won 4-3 on penalties).
Following the win at Saint Mary's on Sunday, UCSB holds an 8-5 record in NCAA Tournament second round matches, improving to 3-3 on the road in those matches
The Gauchos hold a 2-5 record in third round matches, but they've ended up in the College Cup Final both times they've advanced. All of UCSB's third round appearances have come on the road.
The Gauchos are 1-2-1 against Big 10 conference opponents in the NCAA Tournament, with the lone win coming against Northwestern (2006 Quarterfinal). The losses came to Ohio State (2007 Third Round) and Penn State (2013 Second Round). The penalty kick shootout loss to Indiana in the 2004 College Cup Final was officially recorded as a draw.
• The Gaucho Rewind, Matchday 21: NCAA Tournament Second Round
Fueled by its 3-1 opening round at home against Cal, UCSB continued its dance into Saint Mary's Stadium in Moraga and dispatched the Gaels with relative ease. The Gauchos kept the nation's fourth-best attack quiet and scored four goals on a team that had conceded just eleven all year, and just two in the 810 minutes prior to kickoff. The Gauchos' used their size advantage to score the first goal, with Noah Billingsley finding the target from a Hunter Ashworth assist fed by an Ignacio Tellechea corner kick. Saint Mary's came close to scoring after the halftime break, with Jakub Svehlik hitting the left post. Then, the game opened up and the Gauchos found more goals, first from Will Baynham, and then two from Rodney Michael. Santa Barbara is now 13-0-2 when scoring the first goal and has yet to lose when leading at the half or at the 75 minute mark.
• Scouting the Opposition: Indiana
As winners of the Big 10 Tournament after a penalty kick shootout with Michigan, Indiana punched its 33rd-straight ticket to the NCAA Tournament as the fifth-seeded team in the competition. This year's Hoosiers roster is heavy on youth, with just three of the players that saw the field in their College Cup Semifinal having played in their second-round game against Indiana. The Hoosiers will be looking to continue an eight-match unbeaten streak and 38-match home unbeaten streak, dating back to 2017. The player to watch will be freshman attacker Victor Bezerra, who just recorded Indiana's third-ever postseason hat trick and first since 2012 against Kentucky.
• Revenge Tour, Part III
The Gauchos have claimed two signature wins in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. First, they defeated Cal for the first time since 2003, between which the Golden Bears had knocked the Gauchos out of the NCAA Tournament twice. Then, UCSB avenged their 2018 regular season matchup at Saint Mary's, in which the Gaels scored a heartbreaking golden goal in the final three minutes of double overtime, with the win in the second round. Now, the Gauchos will seek a different outcome than their only meeting with Indiana in the postseason, which came in the 2004 College Cup Final when the Hoosiers won the national championship 3-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in regulation and overtime.
• All-Conference Nods
Senior wingback Noah Billingsley earned the Big West Conference's Defensive Player of the Year designation, senior attacking midfielder Thibault Candia earned Co-Midfielder of the Year honors, while Finn Ballard McBride received the Freshman Player of the Year award in the league's end-of-year awards announced Nov. 12. The full list of Gaucho honorees is as follows:
First Team - Rodney Michael (third selection), Noah Billingsley (second selection), Hunter Ashworth (second selection), Sahid Conteh, Thibault Candia
Honorable Mention - Will Baynham
All-Freshman Team - Finn Ballard McBride
The Gauchos' eight selections across the four teams are the most since 2016 (nine).
• Olympic Kiwis
Senior right wingback Noah Billingsley and junior centerback Hunter Ashworth were successful in representing New Zealand U-23 at the Oceania Football Confederation U-23 Championship in Fiji, winning the tournament after defeating Solomon Islands 5-0 in the final. The Kiwi duo helped their home country qualify for its first Olympics since 2012 at the tournament. In the "Oly-Whites'" final match of the group stage, Billingsley started and scored in New Zealand's comeback 4-2 win against the Solomon Islands.
• Top Drawer Players
On Oct. 21, Rodney Michael was selected to the Top Drawer Soccer Midseason Top 100 and Finn Ballard McBride made it on the publication's Freshman Midseason Top 100 list. Michael clocks in at no. 9 on the list, improving on his No. 67 ranking on the preseason chart. After being held scoreless in the first six games of the year, the Freetown, Sierra Leone-native turned his season around with a goal or assist in eight consecutive matches, racking up four goals and six assists in that span. Ballard McBride is on the freshman top 100 list as the no. 6-ranked first-year player in the country. Despite not playing a single minute in any of UCSB's first three matches of the season, the Australian's performances have vaulted him to the top of the Gaucho goalscoring ranks, as he leads the squad with eight goals. He scored in six of the Gauchos' seven matches between the away game at Pacific on Sept. 25 and UCSB's home win against UC Riverside on Oct. 16.
• Roach at the Ready
The plaudits continue to pour in for Ben Roach as his stellar performances in net have continued for the Gauchos. He earned recognition as an All-Big West second teamer thanks to a year that included a season and career-high 10 saves at Cal Poly on Nov. 2, a nine-save performance at UC Davis in the regular season, and 11 shutouts so far this year, sharing fourth place on the all-time single-season shutout list with Bob Tuler's 1978 campaign. The sophomore has started every game for the Gauchos this year.
• One-bault, Two-bault, Three-bault
In the match against UMBC on Sept. 22, Thibault Candia scored the Gauchos' first hat trick since Luis Silva did the same on September 23, 2011 against San Diego. The first goal came early in the first half when Will Baynham played the ball forward for Candia in midfield, where he dribbled the ball into the left side of the 18-yard box, where his attempted cross into the middle took an immediate deflection off the foot of an opposing player and into the net. In the second half, he put away a penalty into the top left corner and brilliantly dribbled the ball from just past midfield to a few yards behind the top of the box, where he got a shot off with his right foot. For his efforts, he was awarded the Big West Co-Offensive Player of the Week award.
• One-Billingsley, Two-Billingsley, Three-Billingsley
Noah Billingsley became the first player in the Big West this season to record three assists in a game after assisting the second, third, and fourth goals in UCSB's 5-0 win at No. 22 Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 12. It was Santa Barbara's first triple-assist performance since Memo Arzate completed the feat in 2003 in his 18-assist campaign.

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