UCSB Hosts Cal State Fullerton in Big West Tournament First Round Action on Wednesday

UCSB Hosts Cal State Fullerton in Big West Tournament First Round Action on Wednesday

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The Schedule
Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 7:00 p.m.
Big West Tournament First Round
No. 3 UC Santa Barbara (10-6-1) vs. No. 6 Cal State Fullerton (5-7-5)
Harder Stadium - Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Titans: 33-26-3
Record vs. CSF in BWT: 1-2
Last Meeting: Oct. 6, 2018 - UCSB def. CSF, 1-0 (OT)
UCSB Form: L T W W W 
CSF Form: W L L W T
Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: KCSB.org

Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7:00 p.m.
Big West Tournament Semifinals
UCSB/CSF at No. 2 UC Riverside

Video Stream Available
Wednesday night's Big West Tournament First Round matchup against Cal State Fullerton will be available to stream through BigWest.TV with the Voice of the Gauchos, Gerry Fall, on the call. An audio broadcast produced by KCSB is also available with Arthur Wilkie handling play-by-play duties. 

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.

Gauchos Top Cal Poly in Regular Season Finale
Playing in front of 7,318 fans, the largest crowd at Harder Stadium this season, the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team capped off a perfect home record with a 2-0 shutout win over Cal Poly in the Blue-Green Rivalry match on Senior Night. After four consecutive draws between the two teams at Harder Stadium, including five straight scoreless halves, the Gauchos finally broke the mold with a pair of second half goals to secure the win.

Big West Tournament Begins
UCSB looks to continue its perfect record at home when it opens Big West Tournament play on Wednesday night as the No. 3 seed, hosting No. 6 seed Cal State Fullerton. The winner will play at No. 2 seed UC Riverside this Saturday, Nov. 3. On the other side of the bracket, No. 1 seed UC Irvine awaits the winner of No. 5 UC Davis at No. 4 CSUN. 

Gauchos' Tournament History
Since the Big West Tournament's inception in 2008, UCSB has a 5-8-1 all-time record and one tournament championship (2010). Despite the Gauchos holding a 15-game unbeaten streak of dominance over Cal State Fullerton at Harder Stadium during the regular season, the Titans have knocked UCSB out of the tournament in its past two appearances to Soccer Heaven. CSF upended the Gauchos 1-0 in the 2015 title game and 2-1 in the 2016 semifinals. Last season, UCSB fell 1-0 to UC Riverside at home in the first round. 

Clash with the Titans
In their previous meeting this season, Cal State Fullerton forced the Gauchos into their only overtime game at home this season, but it was UCSB that came out on top after Noah Billingsley tallied a golden goal in the 92nd minute for a 1-0 victory. CSF is coming off a scoreless draw at UC Riverside in the regular season finale and finished with seven draws in 2018. The Titans are led by senior forward Samuel Goni (6g, 2a), sophomore midfielder Christian Pinzon (5g, 0a), Ross McPhie (2g, 5a) and Robert Coronado (1g, 5a). They have scored 24 goals in 19 games (1.26 gpg) and allow 0.96 goals against. 

Candia Earns Big West Offensive Player of the Week
UC Santa Barbara junior forward Thibault Candia was named the Big West Offensive Player of the Week after recording a pair of assists in a 2-0 win over Cal Poly. In the 51st minute, the Nantes, France native delivered a perfect pass from the top right corner of the box to Sahid Conteh, who finished near post to send the crowd of 7,318 into a frenzy. Just 10 minutes later, it was Candia setting up another score from the right side with a pass into the box to a streaking Kaya Fabbretti, who finished into the corner of the net to give UCSB a 2-0 lead.

UCSB Trio Lands on All-Big West First Team
Sophomore forward Rodney Michael landed on the All-Big West First Team for the second consecutive season and was joined by Gaucho teammates Noah Billingsley and Hunter Ashworth. Michael led the Gauchos while ranking fourth in the conference with 17 points on seven goals and three assists. Ashworth scored twice this season during conference play while making a difference on the defensive end night in and night out. The same can be said for Billingsley who took to a position change midway through the year to fortify a UCSB defense that only allowed 13 goals for a conference-best 0.75 goals against average as well as six shutouts.  

Roach Named Big West Co-Freshman of the Year
Freshman keeper Ben Roach was named Big West Co-Freshman of the Year, becoming the sixth Gaucho in the past seven years to earn the award. The local prep standout from Santa Barbara High School transitioned seamlessly at the collegiate level and led the Big West with a 0.73 goals against average, currently the third-lowest in program history. Roach notched a 10-5-1 record between the sticks with 49 saves and six shutouts, ranking second in the conference, in 16 games played. He recorded a career-high nine saves in a match at nationally ranked and unbeaten Saint Mary's. 

Home Sweet Harder
UCSB has had a history of success playing at Harder Stadium and this season is no different as the Gauchos are a perfect 9-0-0 at home while just 1-6-1 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 .731 winning percentage (147-46-25) all-time in the Tim Vom Steeg era (since 1999). This is the best start at home for UCSB since they went 10-0-0 during the 2002 season. 

Finishing Strong
The Gauchos are unbeaten in four games for the first time this season after putting together four separate two-game winning streaks throughout the year. Speaking of streaks, with a win on Saturday, UCSB has won 10 games in a season for the 17th time in 18 years. 

RPI Update
Despite another win last week, the Gauchos dipped 13 spots to No. 59 in the latest RPI rankings. Wednesday's opponent Cal State Fullerton comes in at No. 82 while potential opponent UC Riverside is No. 88. UC Irvine leads the Big West with a No. 18 ranking.

Recognition for Roach
Freshman keeper Ben Roach was ranked No. 21 on Top Drawer Soccer's list of Top-100 Freshmen. The Santa Barbara, Calif. native and Santa Barbara HS product has been solid in goal all season for UCSB with flashes of brilliance at times. Roach leads the Big West with a goals against average of 0.78 while totaling 48 saves to go with five shutouts. 

Top Praise from Top Drawer 
UCSB was 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.

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. "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."