Men's Soccer Enters 2000 With High Hopes, Prepares To Open Season At Home Friday

Men's Soccer Enters 2000 With High Hopes, Prepares To Open Season At Home Friday

Aug. 28, 2000

The Schedule
Match No. 1,br> Friday, September 1, 2000, 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Valparaiso University Crusaders
at UCSB's Harder Stadium

Match No. 2
Sunday, September 3, 2000, 1:00 p.m. UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at San Jose State Spartans

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters its season opener against Valparaiso with a 0-0 record, not unusual for teams entering their respective season opener.

The Vom Steeg File
Tim Vom Steeg is in his second season as head coach of the Gauchos. Last year he guided UCSB to a 13-7 record, the programs' top mark since it went 13-5 in 1988. Ironically, Vom Steeg was a starting fullback on the 1988 team. Vom Steeg's career record at the Division I level is 13-7, but in seven seasons as the head coach at nearby Santa Barbara City College, he had an outstanding 121-18-4 record and he led the Vaqueros to four California State Junior College Final Fours and one California Junior College Championship (1996). Including his seven seasons at SBCC, he has never suffered through a losing season. Vom Steeg was named State Coach of the Year after guiding SBCC to that state title in 1986. A native of Fresno, he first came to UCSB as a student-athlete in 1985 and he played four seasons as a fullback for the Gaucho program. He graduated in 1989.

A Look Back At The Amazing 1999 Turnaround
UCSB finished the 1999 men's soccer season with an overall record of 13-7 and a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation record of 4-3. The record was the program's best since the 1988 team went 13-5 and it marked the biggest turnaround in the NCAA last season and one of the biggest in NCAA history. The Gauchos' 13-7 record came on the heels of a 1998 season that saw the program produce its worst-ever 2-17-1 record.

Another Challenge
The 2000 UCSB men's soccer team will try to accomplish something that has not been accomplished since 1984 and that is to record back-to-back winning seasons. The last time the Gauchos had two consecutive winning seasons was in 1983 (13-3-3) and 1984 (9-7-4). And actually, that was the end of a string of four straight winning sesaons. The 1987 Gauchos went 9-9-4 and the 1988 team went 13-5 and that is the last time the program was even close to back-to-back winning seasons.

With Many Happy Returns
The 2000 Gauchos will not be starting from scratch. UCSB returns several of its top players from a year ago, in fact, they will sport a roster that includes ten players who started at least one match last year and another, goalkeeper Trent Ulicny, who started for three seasons prior to redshirting last year. In all, the Gauchos return seven of their top eight scorers from a 1999 team that tallied 33 goals.

Forward Thinking
Assuming they remain healthy, the Gaucho forward line should be one of the team's strengths. Junior Jaime Ambriz, who tied for the team-lead in goals last year with eight and senior Thiago Martins, who scored six goals in 11 matches before breaking his foot, lead the way. Junior Joe Hubay-Dies (three goals and one assist for seven points) and sophomore Justin Waldrop (two goals and one assist for five points), also return. In addition, UCSB adds freshmen Ashkahn Moayedi (Woodbridge HS in Irvine) and Gene Deering (Davis HS in Davis).

The Men In The Middle
There are plenty of experienced returnees on the UCSB midfield as well. Junior Steven Sosa, who started 19 matches last year and tallied five assists, leads the way. He is joined by senior Lucas Dalgleish (three goals and three assists for nine points), sophomore Brandon Meeks (two assists) and junior Brian Reardon (two goals). Some of the team's top newcomers are also midfielders. Junior Anthony Dimech will definitely receive a great deal of playing time. He is a transfer from Cal Poly where, as a sophomore, he was the leading scorer with eight goals and two assists. Freshman Matt Kubota (Servite HS, Yorba Linda) could also step in and become a threat.

In Defense Of The Gauchos
Seniors Robert Drescher (team-leading 1,741 minutes) and A.J. Albertalli (1,545 minutes) and junior Galen Donaldson give UCSB a great deal of experience in the fullback line. They are joined by the Gauchos' top freshman recruit, Kevin Maffris (Webb School in Upland) and a pair of transfers in Reuben Bates (Santa Barbara City College and Alex Frimpong (Westmont College).

The Last Line Of Defense
Senior Trent Ulicny will get the nod as the starter at goalkeeper for the Gauchos. Ulicny started for three seasons (1996-98) before redshirting last season.