No. 14 Gauchos Play Host to UC Davis This Saturday

Daniel Welsh (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Daniel Welsh (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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• The Schedule
Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
No. 14 UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Davis (6-8-2, 2-4-1)
at Meredith Field Harder Stadium
Overall record vs. the Aggies: 17-6-4
Last meeting: W, 3-2 (2OT, 10/19/13 @ UC Davis)
UCSB Streak/Form: Tied 1/WWWWT
UCSB Streak/Form vs. UC Davis: Won 1/WWLLW
UC Davis Streak/Form: Lost 1/LWLTL
Free online audio broadcast available at
Free video coverage available through Big West TV

For ticket, click here.

• The Week in Review
UCSB went 1-0-1 last week, defeating Sacramento State on Tuesday night to clinch a playoff spot before drawing at Cal Poly on Friday night. Ismaila Jome was the star against the Hornets, picking up an assist on Goffin Boyoko's first half goal before scoring the game winner in the second half after displaying some tenacious defense. In front of a sellout crowd at Spanos Stadium, Josh McNeely and Achille Campion each turned in excellent performances. McNeely had to make four diving stops on the night, frustrating the Mustangs forward corps. Campion provided the equalizer in the final minute of the first half when a Nick DePuy throw-in was misplayed by a Cal Poly defender, leaving the striker one-on-one with the Mustangs keeper before he finished with a right-footed shot.

• Gauchos on Top
Though Friday's tie with Cal Poly snapped a season-high seven game winning streak, UCSB still remains unbeaten in its last eight matchups. It is just the second time since 2008 that the Gauchos have gone eight straight without a loss, the other being last year's 11 game streak to open the season. UCSB hasn't lost in a over a month, with their last defeat coming on Sep. 27 to Stanford.

• Halloween Parking Advisory
This Saturday's game against UC Davis will coincide with Halloween Weekend. This means there will be increased security and checkpoints around the UCSB campus and in Isla Vista. Stadium Road will be open, and soccer fans driving to the game will be allowed to pass the checkpoints for the game. Parking lots 30 and 38 will be accessible as usual for the game, but fans must vacate the lots before 12 midnight, as parking tickets will begin to be written at that point.

• We are the (Division) Champions
After clinching a playoff spot on Tuesday, the Gauchos found themselves on the precipice of a division crown despite being just one game past the halfway point of conference play. UCSB officially clinched the Big West North's top spot when Sacramento State beat UC Davis on Saturday afternoon. It is UCSB's first league crown since 2009, and the 11th time in the last 12 seasons that the team will reach the postseason. As the top seed in the North, the Gauchos earn a bye in the first round of the conference tournament and the right to host at least their semifinal match.

• Poll Vaulting
With their recent form, the Gauchos have caught the attention of coaches and media nationwide. Tim Vom Steeg's squad is ranked higher then they have been all season in each major poll, with every publication listing UCSB in its top-16. Additionally, the Gauchos are ranked No. 7 in the NCAA RPI rankings, which is tops among all Big West schools. They have been as high as No. 2 in the RPI this season, which is believed to be the best ranking in program history.

• Aggravating the Aggies
The Gauchos have thrived against UC Davis in the recent past, winning 8 of the last 10 matchups between the two teams, including seven straight before last year's sweep at the hands of the Aggies. 2012 was also the first time in program history that the Gauchos dropped multiple games to Davis in the same year. At Harder Stadium, UCSB has an all-time record of 11-4-1 against the Aggies.

• High Octane Offense, Lockdown Defense
To win soccer games, you have to score goals while preventing your opponent from doing the same. UCSB has been extremely successful at that this season, perhaps explaining their 11-4-1 record. The Gauchos rank third in the conference in goals scored this season (32), while they have allowed the fewest goals among Big West teams (15). This trend has continued in conference play, as the Gauchos have scored the most goals (15) of all teams while conceding the second fewest (six, just one more than leader CSUN).

• Last Time Out Against Davis
Despite being down 2-1 to the Aggies on Oct. 19 with a little more than 12 minutes to play, last-minute goals from Achille Campion and Goffin Boyoko rescued a 3-2 win for the Gauchos. Drew Murphy volleyed a deflected cross from about 10 yards out to open the scoring in that game, before UC Davis got quick second half goals from Matt Wiesenfarth and Alex Aguiar to take the lead. In the 88th minute, Campion was taken down in the box by an Aggies defender, and the striker converted the penalty to send the match to overtime. In the last minute of the second overtime period,  Murphy found Boyoko with a back-post corner kick, and Boyoko headed the cross home for UCSB. At the time, it was the Gauchos' sixth straight win and third straight come-from-behind OT victory.

• Campion Lives Up to His Name
With his goal against Cal Poly, Campion has now scored four goals in his last six games. In Big West play, the Frenchman is leading the conference in goals (four), while ranking second in both points (nine) and game-winners (two). UCSB's center forward has now contributed 13 goals in 23 career games with the blue-and-gold.

• Rookies Rack Up Assists
Despite being first year players, Drew Murphy and Ismaila Jome have been creating a multitude of chances from the left side for the Gauchos. In fact, Murphy paces the conference and ranks 16th nationwide with his seven helpers. The midfielder has recorded points in four of his last seven games and picked up his first career goal earlier this year against UC Davis. Not far behind Murphy, is Jome, who ranks fourth in the conference with six assists. The winger's one goal, one assist performance against Sacramento State was the first 3+ point game of his career. His 10 points in home games are the most of any Gaucho. The pair are just two of three Gauchos to start all 16 games so far this season.

• Boyoko There When You Need Him
Forward Goffin Boyoko has turned in a spectacular senior season so far for the Gauchos. Ranked second on the team in goals (six) and points (13), he has already set career highs in both marks. Most importantly for the Gauchos, Boyoko leads the conference with four game-winning goals. The physical striker has goals in two of his last three games.

• McNeely Gets It Done Between the Pipes
Freshman goalkeeper Josh McNeely is in the midst of a historic season in the cage. The Calabasas, Calif. native is currently on pace to set program freshman records across the board in appearances, minutes, saves, shutouts, goals against average, and save percentage. Going into Friday night's matchup, his GAA of 0.80 leads the conference, while his .782 save percentage and four shutouts rank second. He had perhaps his best performance of the season against Cal Poly, recording four highlight saves, all of the highlight reel variety.

• Filling the House
After drawing just under 50,000 fans into Harder Stadium last season, the Gauchos have now led the nation in attendance for six consecutive years, dating back to 2007. Last year's Cal Poly matchup saw 13,467 fans go through the Harder Stadium turnstiles, the most of any NCAA match in 2012. Overall, UCSB has four of the five highest on-campus regular season draws in NCAA history, including a record 15,896 against UCLA on Sep. 24, 2010.  This year's draw of 7,750 for the Stanford game was the largest crowd at Harder Stadium so far this season.