Gauchos Host Seattle in Season Opener on Saturday
• The Schedule
Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, 7 pm
UC Santa Barbara vs. Seattle University
at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium
• Open Sesame
The UCSB men's soccer team will officially open its 2011 campaign on Saturday when the Gauchos host Seattle University at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. The pairing is the first-ever between the two programs.
Last weekend's exhibition against crosstown foe Westmont displayed a very deep and offensive Gaucho squad. Six different players scored as UCSB pummeled the visiting Warriors, 6-1. The last time a UCSB squad scored six goals in a game was during their 6-0 exhibition win over Westmont in 2006.
• 2010 Rewind
Last season, UCSB posted a 14-5-3 overall record and advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. The Gauchos won their first Big West Tournament crown and posted an overall league mark of 7-2-1. Nine players were named to All-Big West teams, including five returning players. Among the Gauchos coming back for the 2011 campaign are Big West Co-Offensive Player of the Year Sam Garza and Big West Freshman of the Year David Opoku.
• The Who's Who
UCSB returns 14 letterwinners from the 2010 squad, including six starters. The Gauchos have also added 12 new players to the roster and among the newcomers are seven battle-tested transfers.
• Great Expectations
Junior forward Sam Garza is expected to have a big season in 2011. The Highland Village, Texas native was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List last week. The award is the highest individual honor in intercollegiate soccer. Additionally, he was named a Preseason Second Team All-American by College Soccer News. Garza led UCSB in goals and points (9 goals, 24 points) during the 2010 campaign. Fittingly, he scored the first goal in last Saturday's exhibition.
• Preseason Predictions
In each of the four preseason national polls that have been released, UCSB has been picked as a top-20 team. Top Drawer Soccer has the Gauchos ranked No. 8 nationally, College Soccer News has them at No. 9, Soccer America tabbed them at No. 10 and the NSCAA has placed UCSB at No. 14. In the Big West Preseason Coaches' Poll, the Gauchos were tabbed to win the conference's regular season and received six of the seven first-place votes.
• Players to Watch
Top Drawer Soccer has placed four UCSB players on its Men's National Top-100 list. Sophomore David Opoku is ranked 13th, Sam Garza is 17th, Luis Silva is 52nd and Machael David is 62nd.
To ensure you don't miss a minute of the 2011 soccer season, purchase your season tickets now by calling (805) 893-UCSB, visiting the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus or by clicking here.