This Week's Schedule Saturday, September 21st #20 UC Santa Barbara vs. #5 Westmont College 7:00 p.m. at UCSB's Harder Stadium *UCSB/Alumni match played at 1:00 p.m.
Movin' On Up...In The Westside
For the second consecutive week the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team ascended the national rankings of College Soccer News, establishing themselves as the 20th ranked team in the nation. After breaking into the national rankings with the 25th spot last week, the first time in the 37 year history of the program, the Gauchos' two game sweep at the Saint Louis Nike Classic pushed UCSB up five spots to the No. 20 position. Santa Barbara also improved in the NSCAA Far West Rankings, climbing into a fourth place tie with Loyola Marymount which is ranked 17th in the national NSCAA/adidas Coaches Poll.
Simply Put, He's The Man
After winning the Big West's scoring title and being honored as the conference's Co-Offensive Player of the Year following last season, senior forward Rob Friend has been even better this year. Currently leading the Big West with five goals, 1.00 goals per game, 12 total points, and 2.40 points per game average, he is proven to be one of the most prolific scorers in the nation in the early portion of the 2002 season. The native of Kelowna, British Columbia sits tied for tenth in the NCAA with his 1.00 goals per game average, and his 2.40 points per game ties him for 14th in the nation. But that is not even the best of it. Having only played for the Gauchos for a little over one season, he is already one of the best offensive player in UCSB history, making numerous appearances in the Gaucho record books. With goals in five consecutive matches this season he has tied UCSB's single season scoring streak mark set by Scott Grassinger in 1983 and Elias Andrade in 1972, which before Friend, also stood as the longest overall streak. Dating back to last season, Friend has now ran his streak of consecutive games with a goal to nine. And now with 16 career goals at UCSB he is just one short of breaking into the Gauchos' top ten in career goals.
Please Keep Your Clothes On For This
The Gauchos 5-0 start to the year is the second best start ever by a UCSB squad. The longest win streak to start a season came in 1971 when Santa Barbara opened the year with nine wins as they finished the season at 9-2. With this year's five consecutive victories out of the gate as the school's second best, the third best start is three wins in-a-row which happened at the beginning of both the 1979 and 1995 seasons. The longest win streak in UCSB history came in 1982 when the Gauchos rattled off nine consectuve wins, the next longest, at eight games, crossed over the 1988 and 1989 seasons. Adding in last year's season-ending win over UCI, Santa Barbara's current streak is at six games, tying for the fourth longest with the squad from 1990.
UCSB vs. Westmont, Part XL
This weekend's match with crosstown soccer foe Westmont, is not a rivalry, but a war. The battle between the Gauchos and the NAIA powerhouse Warriors goes back to 1965, before UCSB even had an NCAA sponsored soccer program, when the two teams squared off in what would became an annual event in Santa Barbara. That first game ended in a tie, setting the stage for what followed. Since then, the two schools have faced each other on the pitch every year, sometimes twice, with Westmont holding a 23-12-4 advantage. In the 39 match (or 40 if you include the match in 1965) history of the rivalry there have only been five games decided by three or more goals, with 22 games ending in a goal differential of one or fewer. UCSB has won two out of the last three downing Westmont 1-0 last year in Harder Stadium.
It's guys like Memo Arzate and David McGill, with their passing prowess ,who make the rest of the team look good. Leading the Big West with four assists apiece, McGill and Arzate have created a dynamic attack in the Gauchos midfield leaving their opponents' defenses baffled trying to thwart to two-sided attack. They are both so good that, average-wise, if either of the two had just one more assist they would be tied for third in nation in assists per game. McGill, Arzate, and fellow starting midfielders Neil Jones (two assists, 8th in the BW), Dan Young (four goals, 2nd in the BW) and Nate Boyden have been part of a Gaucho offense attack that is second in the nation at 4.20 goals per game.
A Front, In The Back
After what would be considered a shaky start for the Gaucho defense, giving up five goals in the first two games, they have adjusted and settled in showing the stubbornness that enabled them to end last year as the 24th best team in the nation in shutout percentage. UCSB has only given up two goals in the last three games, but that doesn't tell the whole story, the following is a break down of all five games:
Game 1-Michigan: Gave up three goals to the third best scoring offense in the country which is averaging 3.60 goals per game.
Game 2-Michigan State: Allowed two goals to the 22nd ranked team in the nation.
Game 3-St. Mary's: First shutout of the season, allowed just six shots.
Game 4- James Madison: Gave up one goal in first three minutes after arriving at the hotel just two hours prior to game time following two days of travel.
Game 5- SW Missouri State: Allowed one goal in last minute of the match, following 193 consecutive minutes played without giving up a goal.
Do We Get Free Shoes For This
After arriving at the team hotel just two hours before its first match because of travel problems, it was unclear if UCSB was going to be able to make its game against James Madison. Well they did, and after giving up a quick goal just over three minutes into the game, Santa Barbara put on a clinic, outshooting the Dukes 18-9 as they walked away with a 3-1 victory. After a day's rest, UCSB took on Southwest Missouri State for their second and final game of the Saint Louis University Nike Classic, stomping the Bears 4-1 behind another offensive showcase that ended with a 25-7 shot advantage for the Gauchos. UCSB was awarded the Nike Classic Tournament title with a 2-0 record and a 7-2 score differential. The Gauchos had four players named to the all-tournament team. Forwards Rob Friend and Gene Deering's two goals apiece, midfielder Memo Arzate's three assists, and defender Alan Keely who captained a defense that allowed just 16 shots and two goals in 180:00 minutes were awarded all-tourney honors.
With UCSB's 3-0 start to the season against a trio of fairly reputatable soccer programs, UCSB broke into College Soccer News' Top-30, earning their ranking as the No. 25 team in the nation, breaking the Gauchos into the national rankings for the first time ever in the 37 year history of the program.
Rank in the Nation...Statistically Speaking
Team 1st (tie) Won/Loss % 1.000
2nd Scoring Offense 4.20 Goals per game
Individual 10th-tie Rob Friend 1.00 goals per game
14th-tie Rob Friend 2.40 points per game