No. 6 Gauchos to Face Pair of Big East Teams
• The Schedule
Friday, September 9, 2011, 7 p.m.
No. 6 UC Santa Barbara (3-0) vs. No. 9 West Virginia (2-1)
at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium
Series Record vs. Mountaineers: 2-0
Last Meeting: W, 2-0 (Sept. 4, 2009)
Sunday, September 11, 2011, 1 p.m.
No. 6 UC Santa Barbara vs. Villanova (2-0-1)
at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium
Series Record vs. Wildcats: First Meeting
• Big West Meets Big East
UCSB returns home this week to host a pair of Big East opponents: No. 9 West Virginia and Villanova, which will both also face Cal Poly this weekend. The Gauchos have won both of their previous pairings with the Mountaineers and will be facing the Wildcats for the first time. UCSB has posted a 6-2 all-time record against Big East opponents.
• The Opposition
West Virginia sports a 2-1 record with wins over Virginia and Binghamton. The Mountaineers' lone loss came at the hands of No. 2 Maryland. Villanova, meanwhile, has defeated Manhattan and Drexel while posting a tie against Colgate.
• For The Record
UCSB is 3-0 on the season after last weekend's wins over Duke (3-2, OT) and NC State (1-0). This marks the third time in the last four years that the Gauchos have opened a season with three consecutive wins. In 2008, UCSB won its first three contests and in 2009, it won its first four.
• Seventh Heaven
After scoring just two goals across their first four games in 2010, the Gauchos have already tallied seven goals across their first three contests this year with five different players getting in on the action. Sophomore David Opoku leads the squad with three goals, which is already halfway to tying his total from his rookie campaign.
• Schmetz's Rising Star
Sophomore defender Peter Schmetz collected a bevy of honors this week following his standout play at the Duke/Nike Classic. The Westmont transfer garnered Tournament Defensive MVP honors and then picked up Big West Defensive Player of the Week accolades. He was also named to Soccer America's National Team of the Week, selected as the UCSBgauchos.com Gaucho of the Week, and named to CollegeSoccer360.com's Primetime Performers list. The Düsseldorf, Germany native helped the Gauchos shutout previously undefeated NC State and limited the Wolfpack to just one shot on goal.
• The Honor Roll
Schmetz was not the only Gaucho that stood out over the weekend. Opoku was named the Duke/Nike Classic Offensive MVP after scoring the gamewinner against NC State. Goalkeeper André Grandt, who had a season-high seven saves in the win over Duke, garnered All-Tournament Team honors as did sophomore Fifi Baiden.
• Home Sweet Harder
The Gauchos will play six of their next eight contests in the friendly confines of Harder Stadium. UCSB holds an 11-game win streak on Meredith Field and is undefeated in its last 12 contests in Santa Barbara.
• Movin' On Up
After a pair of wins over a pair of well-respected programs, UCSB has made moves in the national polls. The Gauchos are ranked No. 6 by the NSCAA (previously No. 9), Top Drawer Soccer and Soccer Times (previously No. 8). UCSB is ranked seventh by College Soccer News and Soccer America (both previously No. 8). Goal.com, meanwhile, has the Gauchos as a consensus top-10 team with its No. 8 ranking. One of the Gauchos' most significant poll moves this week was to No. 1 in the NSCAA Far West rankings, moving two spots up from last week.
• Great Expectations
Junior forward Sam Garza is expected to have a big season in 2011. The Highland Village, Texas native has been named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. 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. Garza scored his first goal of the season in the seventh minute against Duke. The strike tied the game at one-all and the Gauchos never trailed from that point forward.
• Lights, Camera, Action
UCSB will once again have two of its home matches televised live nationally as part of the NSCAA College Game of the Week on Fox Soccer Channel. The Gauchos' first televised match will be their Oct. 5 pairing with defending NCAA champion Akron. UCSB will then welcome Fox Soccer back to Harder Stadium on Nov. 4 when the Gauchos host Blue-Green rival Cal Poly.
• Preseason Predictions
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. UCSB, which has claimed three of the last five Big West regular season championships, received 48 points overall in the poll. The Gauchos will open Big West play on Sept. 28 when they travel to UC Riverside.
• Thank You Santa Barbara
UCSB Athletics would like to extend a special thank you to Santa Barbara Airport, which is sponsoring Friday's match against West Viriginia!
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.