This Week's Schedule
UCSB adidas Classic
Friday, September 2nd & Sunday, September 4th
Featuring No. 4 UC Santa Barbara, No. 6 Virginia, No. 20 Cal, and UC Riverside.
UC Santa Barbara ended its record-breaking 2004 season with a bitter taste left in its mouth following its 1-1 double-overtime tie to Indiana in the NCAA Championship match, only to lose the trophy in penalty kicks. Well the Gauchos get their first chance to rinse out that taste this weekend when they open the season by hosting their own UCSB adidas Classic in Harder Stadium on Friday, September 2nd and Sunday, September 4th. The Gauchos welcome five-time National Champion Virginia, Pac-10 power Cal, and Big West up-and-comer UC Riverside. UVA vs. UCR open the weekend's matches on Friday at 5:00 p.m., followed by UCSB vs. Cal at approximately 7:30 p.m. The Golden Bears will then face the Highlanders on Sunday at 2:00 p.m., followed by the Gauchos/Cavaliers clash at 6:00 p.m.
Ticket Prices for the UCSB adidas Classic
All Tournament (all three sessions):
$20 Adults, $10 Kids 13-under
Friday (both matches):
$10 Adults, $5 Kids 13-under
Sunday (for each match):
$7 Adults, $5 Seniors, $3 Kids 13-under
Tickets can be purchased in advance by contacting the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office at 805-893-UCSB.
Cal Game Capsule
Cal vs. UCSB has turned into a budding rivalry over the last couple of seasons thanks to the NCAA Tournament. In 2002, the Gauchos and Golden Bears squared off in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament in Berkley with the hosts taking the match 2-1, eliminating Santa Barbara from its first-ever NCAA tourney. In 2003, UCSB turned the table on Cal, claiming a 2-0 victory in Harder Stadium to advance to its first-ever Sweet 16.
The Golden Bears hold a slight edge in the all-time series at 13-11-3. The last time that the two schools met in the regular season was in 2000, with Cal being the 3-1 victors at home.
Cal enters the 2005 season ranked No. 20 in the NSCAA preseason poll after finishing 2004 with a 13-4-3 overall record and an NCAA Tournament Second Round berth. The Golden Bears return six starters from last year's squad that finished tied for second in the Pac 10.
Virginia Game Capsule
UCSB will be facing Virginia for just the second time in the 40-year history of the Gauchos' men's soccer program. The first time that the two programs played each other the Gauchos' roster featured a freshman by the name of Tim Vom Steeg. UCSB lost the match 2-0.
Since the loss to Virginia in 1985, UCSB has gone a combined 4-0-0 against ACC schools, with three of those four wins coming over the course of the last two years. The Gauchos dismantled Duke 5-0 in last year's NCAA Semifinals, one year after topping the Blue Devils and NC State to claim the Duke adidas Classic.
Virginia enters the 2005 season ranked No. 6 in the NSCAA preseason poll after finishing 2004 with an overall mark of 18-5-1 and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament Elite 8 where they lost to Duke 3-0. The Cavaliers return a number of starters from last year's ACC Championship team, including 2004 Freshman All-American Nico Colaluca.
A New Perspective
UCSB will begin the 2005 season in foreign territory thanks to a No. 4 preseason national ranking from the NSCAA, a mark that surpasses the last season's No. 13 preseason ranking from College Soccer News by far. The Gauchos received a No. 15 preseason nod in last year's NSCAA coaches' poll. And while starting the season near the top might be new for Santa Barbara, actually being there is not. Last year the Gauchos earned the No. 1 spot for the first time in school history following week three, spending a total of six weeks there over the course of the season, including throughout the entire NCAA Tournament. UCSB's six total weeks of reign was longer than any other team last season. Santa Barbara finished the year at No. 2 after losing in PK's to National Champion Indiana following a 1-1 double-overtime draw.
Tim's Tourney Teams
There is just something about tournament games that Tim Vom Steeg-coached teams seem to like. Over the course of the past four years UCSB has posted an impressive 18-3 record in tournament play, 6-3 in NCAA Tournament contests and 12-0 in tourneys that occur in the regular season. Since 2001 the Gauchos have claimed six regular season tournaments, including last year's UConn Huskie Classic and UNM/Crescent Financial Solutions Lobo Invitational, the latter of which is where UCSB snapped Indiana's 23-game unbeaten streak to ultimately claim the nation's No. 1 ranking.
Apparently the Gauchos are tough to figure out, because over the course of the last four seasons UCSB has lost just three games against non-conference foes, excluding NCAA Tournament play. It has lost twice to Loyola Marymount in 2002 and 2003 and once to Indiana in 2002. Overall, since 2001 Santa Barbara has posted an astonishing 25-3-2 cumulative record in non-Big West competition. Last season the Gauchos went 9-0-1 in non-conference regular season play en route to posting a 21-3-1 overall record, finishing with a nation's second best .860 win-loss-tie percentage.
Comin' Out of the Gates Strong
Last year's school record 11-straight games-unbeaten to start the season has will be no easy task to try and match. After opening with eight straight wins before tying USF and winning two more, Santa Barbara rolled on to the best season in the program's history. But strong starts have become the norm for the Gauchos, in the four seasons they have played their first five games a combined 18-1-1 record. And over the course of each of the last three years they have gone undefeated, posting a 23-0-1 cumulative mark. Last season's eight-straight wins tied the 2002 squad for the second-longest such streak to start the season. UCSB's all-time record in nine consecutive wins to start year, set back in 1971. As far as season-openers go, the Gauchos have gone unbeaten in six straight (5-0-1), in fact, Vom Steeg's lone loss in a season-opening match was in 1999 against San Diego State, his first game as head coach of the UCSB men's soccer program.
Who Will Be Back
Even with the departure of last year's senior class that featured some of the players ever to wear a Gaucho uniform, this year's squad is more than capable of achieving the same level of success as 2004's record-setting team, if not more. UCSB returns 14 players from last year's squad that finished with a nation's best 21 wins, including six starters and four All-Big West honorees. Defensively the Gauchos bring back All-American Andy Iro, All-Big West First-Teamer Pat Scott, and 2003 starter Jeff Murphy. In the middle of the park Santa Barbara returns starter, and Hermann candidate, Tyler Rosenlund as well as senior team co-captains Nate Boyden, a Second Team All-Big West selection in '04, and Bryan Byrne. Up top UCSB's only returning starter is senior Jonathan Davis, who also happens to be the team's leading returning scorer with 15 total points last season.
Rosenlund: MAC Hermann Candidate
After earning Freshman All-American honors from College Soccer News following his first season with the Gauchos, midfielder Tyler Rosenlund enters his sophomore year after received one of the greatest honors ever bestowed upon a UCSB soccer player. Last week the Canadian International was named to the 2005 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch list, becoming the first Gaucho ever to make the 25-man list. Rosenlund was just one of five sophomores named the list that eventually determines Division I college soccer's National Player of the Year. The list of 25 will eventually be reduced to 15 semifinalists near the end of the regular season, and three finalists prior to the beginning of the College Cup.
Entering the 2005 season there is no doubt as to who will be anchoring the Gauchos' defense. Following a freshman campaign that earned the 6-4 central defender numerous post-season accolades, including Freshman All-American, Big West Freshman of the Year, and College Cup All-Tournament honors, Iro begins his second season at UCSB with a couple more. Last week the Liverpudlian was named a First Team Preseason All-American by Soccer America to go along with his second team selection by College Soccer News. In his first year with the Gauchos he played 2,062 of UCSB's 2,366 total minutes played, helping the defense to post a stellar 0.31 goals against average when he was on the pitch.
Blows From the Back
In its 4-3 exhibition win last weekend it was quite evident that UCSB has a pretty potent...defense. That's right, defense. When the final whistle blew all four of the Gauchos' starting defenders registered points on the evening. Sophomore Andy Iro and senior Pat Scott each netted unassisted goals in the match with a pair 20-plus-yard shots. And wide defenders Jeff Murphy and Brennan Tennelle were credited with assists on UCSB's other two goal, Murphy on Bryan Byrne's game-opening tally, and Tennelle on Ivan Becerra's goal.
Trial by Fire
UCSB once again had an outstanding year on the recruiting trail bringing in some of the best players that the nation had to offer, all in all rounding up 13 players who will be wearing a Gaucho uniform for the first time this season. Ranked 11th in the nation by College Soccer News following its early signees, UCSB's recruiting class will be relied upon right out of the gate. Freshmen Eric Avila and Alfonso Motagalvan both started Santa Barbara's exhibition match, and junior transfer Eric Frimpong played a substantial amount of minutes.
Waiting in the Wings
When you play behind an All-American you don't always necessarily get the playing time that you might deserve, so was the case for goalkeeper Kyle Reynish and forward Ivan Becerra. Reynish spent three years playing behind All-American Dan Kennedy, UCSB's all-time leader in wins and shutouts, two as his back-up and one as a redshirt. While Becerra, a junior transfer in 2004, spent all of last year playing All-American Drew McAthy and First Team All-Big West honoree Neil Jones, a tandem that proved to be one of the most potent in the nation from 2003 on. Well Reynish and Becerra now have their shot, and if last Saturday's scrimmage is any indication, they are ready for the job. Becerra managed to fired off a couple blistering shots in the 50 or so minutes he played, finding the back of the net with one and forcing the Westmont keeper to make a split-second save on the other. While Reynish made a trio of saves to help preserve the Santa Barbara win, including a diving save late in the second half.
The New Harder Stadium
The Gauchos will also be unveiling their newly redeveloped stadium this weekend. Thanks to the generous support of UCSB boosters following last seasons run to the national title match, the Gauchos were able to improve Harder Stadium into one of the nation's premier collegiate soccer facilities. The most obvious improvement was the resodding and grading of Harder's playing surface, upgrading it into one of the finest in the nation, at any level. UCSB also repaved to entire interior of the stadium, vastly improving the safety and appearance the sight of last season's Elite 8 match that saw an NCAA Quarterfinal record 11,215 fans attend. Santa Barbara also credited a beautifully landscaped picnic area with a full view of the playing field for fans to sit and relax in. The entrance to Harder Stadium has also been changed from the southeast corner (next the ticket booth) to the southwest corner (closest to Storke Field). Tickets will still be purchased at the existing ticket booth, and then the fans will proceed down the south exterior of the stadium to the new entrance which will feature two 8'x22' banners hanging on the outside of the stadium. Pennants representing all nine Big West institutions will also be displayed on the interior. Watching a UCSB soccer match will now be much more pleasant to all fans in attendance thanks to a new high-quality sound system mounted on top of the press box. And the last upgrade to take place in Harder Stadium following last season still might not be finished by this weekend, but the face of the press box is, or will be, fronted with new glass windows instead of the wooden shutters.