Showdown Between Defending Big West Champs Comes to Harder on Saturday

Tim Pontius (By Adam Caira)

Oct. 1 Release

• The Schedule 
Saturday, October 1, 2011, 7 p.m.
No. 7 UC Santa Barbara (6-2-1, 0-1) vs. No. 7 UC Irvine (8-2, 0-1)
at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium
Series Record vs. Anteaters: 32-14-4
Last Meeting: T, 0-0 (2OT) - Oct. 30, 2010 

• Battle Of The Defending Champions
UCSB will host UC Irvine on Saturday in a showdown between the defending Big West Tournament  champion and the defending Big West regular season champion. Saturday's pairing is the only scheduled between the two teams during the regular season. Both the Gauchos and Anteaters will be looking for their first league win after dropping their openers to UC Riverside and Cal Poly, respectively.  

• Get Your Tickets
To purchase you tickets for Saturday's match, visit the Ticket Office inside the ICA Building on campus, call 805-893-UCSB or click here

• Tune In
Fans unable to make it to Saturday's match can tune into AM 1290 KZSB, the Santa Barbara News-Press Radio Station, for a live broadcast of the games. Gerry Fall will be calling the play-by-play and Mark Patton will handle color commentary. AM 1290 will 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 at UCSBgauchos.com. Saturday's match will also be streamed live on BigWest.TV. 

• For The Record
After falling to UC Riverside on Wednesday, UCSB drops to 6-2-1 on the year and 0-1 in league play. This marks the second straight year the Gauchos have dropped their Big West opener; they lost 1-0 in overtime to Cal State Fullerton in 2010. 

• Home Sweet Harder
The Gauchos extended their home unbeaten streak to 16 matches with last weekend's two wins. UCSB has posted a 14-0-2 record within the friendly confines of Harder Stadium, dating back to Sept. 10, 2010. UCSB is also currently amidst a four-game home shutout streak. The Gauchos have not allowed a goal on Meredith Field in 399:02 consecutive minutes.  

• Hi Ho Silva
Senior midfielder Luis Silva scored his first collegiate hat trick to lead UCSB to its 3-0 win over USD last Friday. For his standout performance, he was named the Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week, the LA Soccer News Men's College Player of the Week and was named to the College Soccer News, Soccer America and Top Drawer Soccer National Teams of the Week. Silva and David Opoku are tied with a team-leading five goals apiece. Against the Highlanders, Silva registered a season-high eight shots – the most by a Gaucho this season in a single game – and also assisted on David Opoku's goal. 

• André The Giant
Silva wasn't the only Gaucho that was rewarded this week, junior goalkeeper André Grandt picked up Big West Defensive Player of the Week accolades after tallying a pair of shutouts. He now has five on the year. The junior holds a 0.97 goals against average and has posted five shutouts. 

• David Squared
For the second time in as many games, Machael David and David Opoku combined for a goal during Wednesday's contest at Riverside. In the 17th minute against the Highlanders, David sent a cross to Opoku, who headed the ball in for his fifth goal of the season. Opoku had assisted David's game-winning goal just four days earlier against Sacramento State. David is tied with Dom Sarle as the Gauchos' assist leader and Opoku leads the squad with his 12 points (5 goals, 2 assists). 

• Pulse On The Polls
The national polls are almost in complete consensus that UCSB is the No. 7 team in the nation this week. The Gauchos are ranked seventh by College Soccer News, Top Drawer Soccer, Soccer America and Soccer Times. The NSCAA has UCSB up three spots from last week at No. 10 and has moved the Gauchos two spots higher in the Far West rankings to No. 2. Saturday's opponent, UC Irvine, is ranked as high as No. 7 by the NSCAA (and No. 1 in the Far West). Three polls have the Anteaters at No. 8 (Top Drawer Soccer, Soccer America and Soccer Times) and one has them at No. 9 (College Soccer News).  

• 35 Minutes Or Less
UCSB should open its own pizza chain, because the Gauchos sure know how to make a quick delivery. In all eight games that UCSB has scored in, it has posted its first goal within the first 35 minutes. Last weekend's first goals came in the 11th minute (USD) and the 20th (Sac State), while Wednesday's goal at Riverside was tallied in the 17th minute. 

• 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 next week's 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. 

• 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 177-68-26 record at the helm of UCSB and a 156-50-25 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. 

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