SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team received good news on two fronts on Monday, as senior defender Peter Schmetz was voted the Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Week and the latest NCAA RPI rankings tabbed the Gauchos at No. 3 in the nation after the team picked up pivotal road wins over conference rivals Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine this past weekend.
Schmetz, a center back from Dusseldorf, Germany, had an exemplary week on both sides of the ball. In friday night's win, a back line anchored by Schmetz allowed just one goal to a potent CSUN offense, becoming just the second team in 2013 to limit the No. 4 Matadors to one goal. In addition, Schmetz capped off an offensively dominant second half against CSUN by heading in the equalizing goal in the 87th minute. Entering the season with one career goal to his name, Schmetz now has three goals in his last five appearances.
Against UC Irvine, Schmetz turned in a standout defensive performance, holding the Anteaters to just one goal despite playing the final 56 minutes of the game – including two overtime periods – a man down.
Schmetz and the entire UCSB defensive corps have now strung together a streak of impressive performances, conceding just two goals over their last five matches.
Additionally, after claiming road victories against nationally ranked CSUN and perennial rival UCI, the Gauchos jumped 13 spots in the RPI rankings to No. 3, it was revealed today by the NCAA. The ranking is believed to be the highest in program history.
Off to their best start to their conference schedule since 2009, UCSB has fared well against one of the toughest schedules in the NCAA, including top-50 matchups against UCLA (No. 4 in the RPI), CSUN (12), New Mexico (14), Northwestern (16), Gonzaga (19), Stanford (34), and Illinois-Chicago (42). Conversely, the Gauchos have played just three teams outside the top-100 (Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside, and Harvard).
On a season-high five game winning streak, the Gauchos will look to stay hot this weekend when they travel north to UC Davis to take on the Aggies in the first of six consecutive Big West North showdowns. With a win at Aggie Soccer Field, Tim Vom Steeg's squad can clinch a spot in this year's Big West Tournament.
UCSB next returns to Harder Stadium next Tuesday, Oct. 22, to host the Sacramento State Hornets. Tickets for that match, and all remaining regular season home matches, can be purchased by calling 805.893.UCSB or clicking here.
You can catch head coach Tim Vom Steeg every week on Talk'n Gauchos, the weekly talk radio show of UCSB Athletics. Hosted by Gerry Fall, the hour-long Talk'n Gauchos is broadcasted live every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. from the Beachside Bar Cafe at Goleta Beach Park. The show can be heard over the air on AM 1290, the Santa Barbara News-Press Radio or online at UCSBgauchos.com.