No. 6 UCSB Heads to Westwood to Face UCLA
• The Schedule
Friday, September 16, 2011, 7 p.m.
No. 6 UC Santa Barbara (4-0-1) at No. 16 UCLA (2-2-1)
at Drake Stadium
Series Record vs. Bruins: 4-30-3
Last Meeting: W, 2-0 (Sept. 24, 2010)
• Friday Night Lights
Sixth-ranked UCSB will head South to take on non-conference rival No. 16 UCLA on Friday at the Bruins' Drake Stadium. The match is the lone contest for the Gauchos this week. They will return home on Friday, Sept. 23 to face San Diego.
• Tune In
Fans unable to make the trek to Westwood on Friday can tune into AM 1290 KZSB, the Santa Barbara News-Press Radio Station, for a live broadcast of the game. Gerry Fall will be calling the play-by-play and Mark Patton will handle color commentary. The UCSB-UCLA pairing is the first of 12 scheduled men's soccer broadcasts this season. AM 1290 will also air the Oct. 5 pairing against defending NCAA Champion Akron, all home and away Big West Conference matches and all postseason play. You can listen online here.
• The Opposition
UCLA, which is ranked 16th by Soccer America, enters Friday with a 2-2-1 overall record. After getting off to a 0-2-1 start, the Bruins picked up a pair of 2-1 wins at home last weekend over Saint Mary's and Loyola Marymount. Chandler Hoffman leads the squad with four goals.
• The Series
While UCLA has dominated the all-time series against the Gauchos, 30-4-3, the teams have been much more competitive in the past four seasons, recording a 2-2-1 record since 2006. During last season's meeting at Harder Stadium, a NCAA record crowd of 15,896 fans witnessed the Gauchos defeat the Bruins, 2-0. David Opoku scored the game-winning goal in the 75th minute.
• For The Record
UCSB is 4-0-1 on the season after defeating ninth-ranked West Virginia, 2-0, and tying Villanova, 0-0, last weekend at Harder Stadium. The Gauchos extended their home undefeated streak to 14 games with the win and draw. Undefeated through its first five contests, UCSB is off to its best start since the 2004 season when it went unbeaten through its first 12 games.
• Four Score
Sophomore David Opoku, the 2010 Big West Freshman of the Year, has gotten off to a great start this season, scoring a team-leading four goals across five games. The Accra, Ghana native scored his third game-winner on Friday in the 2-0 victory over West Virginia. Opoku is just two goals away from tying his total from the 2010 campaign and leads the Big West in game-winning goals.
• Interesting Tidbit
In all four of the Gauchos' wins this season, UCSB has scored its first goal within 22 minutes of the opening whistle. Three of those early goals were provided by Opoku.
• No Goals For You
Anchored by junior goalkeeper André Grandt, UCSB has posted three consecutive shutouts, logging a total of 302 consecutive shutout minutes. The last time the Gauchos have held three opponents in a row scoreless was in Sept. 2010 against Harvard, Buffalo and UCLA.
• Pulse On The Polls
Three weeks into the season, UCSB remains a consensus top-10 team in the national polls. The Gauchos' highest poll position is sixth in both the NSCAA and Top Drawer Soccer rankings. UCSB is seventh in the College Soccer News and Soccer Times polls and ranked eighth by Goal.com. After Sunday's tie, the Gauchos have dropped two spots to No. 9 in the Soccer America poll. They also saw a drop in the NSCAA Far West rankings, falling to No. 2 behind UC Irvine, which is 6-0 on the season.
• 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. He is third on the team with three points (1 goal, 1 assist) and 13 shots.
• 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 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.
• Talkn' Gauchos Returns
Talkn' Gauchos, the weekly one-hour radio show devoted to UCSB Athletics, returns to AM 1290 on Tuesday, Sept. 20. The talk show features Gaucho student-athletes and coaches, airs live each Tuesday from The Beachside Bar-Café on Goleta Beach and is open to the public. The first show of the 2011-12 season is scheduled to feature head coach Tim Vom Steeg and senior midfielder Luis Silva.
• The Vom Steeg File
In his 13th year leading the Gauchos, head coach Tim Vom Steeg is the winningest coach in Big West history. Vom Steeg has posted a 175-66-26 record at the helm of UCSB and a 154-48-25 record since the program rejoined the Big West in 2001. Vom Steeg is also the winningest coach in UCSB men's soccer history and has turned the Gauchos into an annual national title contender. The 2004 and 2006 NSCAA National Coach of the Year, Vom Steeg guided the Gauchos to the NCAA title in 2006 and the championship game in 2004. He has guided UCSB to five Big West titles in the past nine years and nine consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. He won Big West Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2004, 2005 and 2010 and has produced 16 All-Americans.