UCSB Looks to Bounce Back against Butler on Saturday night

Kaya Fabbretti (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Kaya Fabbretti (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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The Schedule
Saturday, Sept. 8 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (2-2-0) vs. Butler (1-2-1)
Harder Stadium - Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Bulldogs: 0-1
Last meeting: Sept. 9, 2016 - BU def. UCSB, 4-2
UCSB Form: W W L L
BU Form: T L W L
Video: BigWest.TV
Live Stats: UCSBGauchos.com

Video Stream Available
UCSBGauchos.com will offer a live video broadcast of Saturday's match through BigWest.TV. Gerry Fall, Voice of the Gauchos, will be on hand for play-by-play duty and a link to the broadcast can be found on the UCSB men's soccer schedule page or by clicking here.

College Cup Tickets on Sale Now!
UC Santa Barbara hosts the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer College Cup on Dec. 7 and 9 at Harder Stadium. College Cup ticket packages as well as UCSB season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online or by calling the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office at 805-893-UCSB. 

Last Week in Review
After a strong opening weekend that saw UCSB go 2-0 and receive votes in the United Soccer Coaches Poll,  the Gauchos went winless during its two-game Pacific Northwest road trip. UCSB suffered a 1-0 loss in front of a raucous crowd of 3,213 at Portland before closing out the trip with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Seattle. The Gauchos controlled the match at Portland and outshot the Pilots 11-9, but a costly turnover in the second half led to the game-winning goal from Benji Michel. Against Seattle, it was the Redhawks taking control of the match, outshooting UCSB 25-5, and scoring a pair of early goals to put the game out of reach. 

Battle with the Bulldogs
UCSB will look to return to the win column as it welcomes RV Butler to Harder Stadium on Saturday night for the second meeting all-time between the two programs. The Bulldogs began the season as the No. 9 team in the nation, but a slow start has them out of the Top-25 and receiving votes in the latest poll. Butler is led by junior forward Brandon Guhl (Ranked No. 31 on Top Drawer's Top-100), who has three goals and two assists on the year, while junior defender/midfielder Alex Lehtinen has two assists. Butler opened the season with a 2-2 draw at No. 4 Akron and defeated No. 16 Central Michigan 2-0, but has losses against Columbia and Drake.

Home Sweet Home
UCSB has had a history of success playing at Harder Stadium and this season is no different as the Gauchos are 2-0 at home and 0-2 on the road. Last season, UCSB went unbeaten in eight of its 10 home matches during the regular season (4-2-4) and boasts a .723 winning percentage (140-46-25) all-time in the Tim Vom Steeg era (since 1999). 

Carson Makes His Debut
Sophomore defender Carson Vom Steeg made his UCSB debut over the weekend, starting the second half at Seattle on Sunday and played a total of 28 minutes. The son of head coach Tim Vom Steeg, Carson figures to play a prominent role for the Gauchos this season after helping Stanford win a national title last year as a freshman. 

Vom Steeg Captures Career Win No. 250
Entering his 20th season at the helm of the UCSB soccer program, head coach Tim Vom Steeg needed just two wins to reach No. 250 for his career, and the Gauchos did not waste any time. With two convincing wins over opening weekend, Vom Steeg reached the milestone and now boasts a career record of 250-113-46 (.668). "It was nice to get 250 on a night like tonight," Vom Steeg said on reaching the milestone after a 3-1 win over UC Riverside last Sunday. "I enjoyed the way our team played tonight and I liked our effort, so it's very rewarding. It is an incredible challenge to take a new group of players every single year - which we end up having to do quite a bit here at UCSB - and make it work. But for me, I'm hoping this year will be not 250, but 270. Our goal is to rack up as many wins as we can and keep this thing going."

Top Praise from Top Drawer 
UCSB was recently mentioned by TopDrawerSoccer.Com as one of 14 teams named as NCAA Division I title contenders in 2018. The Gauchos also had two players recognized among its National Top 100 list, with Faouzi Taieb coming in at No. 55 and Rodney Michael at No. 79. Within the Big West, Top Drawer ranks six Gauchos in the Top 20 with Taieb at No. 2, Michael at No. 3, Ignacio Tellechea at No. 5, Carson Vom Steeg at No. 9, Alan Carrillo at No. 10 and Adrian Adames at No. 19. 

He's One to Watch
Junior defender Faouzi Taieb (Marseille, France/St. Francis Brooklyn) was one of 32 players named to the prestigious MAC Hermann Watch List, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding male and female players of the year. Before he has even played a game for UCSB, Taieb becomes the eighth Gaucho all-time to be named to the watch list joining Tyler Rosenlund (2005), Andy Iro (2006, 2007), Eric Avila (2007), Chris Pontius (2008), Sam Garza (2011), Ismalia Jome (2014) and Nick DePuy (2016). Taieb was a sensational defender the past two seasons for St. Francis Brooklyn, earning NEC Defensive Player of the Year accolades as a sophomore and NEC Rookie of the Year as a freshman.  

Preseason Poll
UCSB was tabbed to finish second in the Big West this season after the annual Preseason Coaches' Poll was released in August. The Gauchos received 55 points and three first-place votes, coming a close second to reigning Big West Tournament champion Cal State Fullerton, who received 57 points and four first-place votes. CSUN (47) came in third, while UC Davis (40) was picked fourth and received the lone remaining first-place vote. UC Irvine (30), Sacramento State (23), UC Riverside (21) and Cal Poly (15) rounded out the rest of the poll. After being split into the North and South divisions for the past six seasons, the Big West will return to a single division for 2018 and beyond.

Preseason All-Conference Team Features Pair of Gauchos
Sophomore Rodney Michael, the 2017 Big West Freshman of the Year and First Team All-Big West selection, and junior Noah Billingsley, who recently made his debut with the New Zealand National Team, were both selected to the 2018 Big West Preseason All-Conference Team. Michael, a native of Freetown, Sierra Leone, paced the Gauchos last season with eight goals and four assists as a freshman and will look to lead the offense once again this fall. Billingsley, who earned the preseason honor for the second season in a row, recorded two goals and two assists last year and will continue to be a threat in the attacking third.

Need a Lyft?
Lyft, the fastest growing rideshare company in the U.S., announced today that it will become the first rideshare company to sponsor the UCSB athletic seasons from Fall 2018 through Fall 2021.The three-year partnership begins during this weekend's men's soccer game versus Westmont on Saturday, Aug. 18 at Harder Stadium and will feature an exclusive Lyft pick-up and drop-off area at the Stadium Road entrance. Giveaways, discounted rides and fun Gaucho-themed activities are some of the additional perks that Lyft passengers will experience during each athletic season.