Sept. 19, 2006
This Week's Schedule
Thursday, September 21, 2006
No. 12 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal State Fullerton Titans
Titan Stadium Kickoff 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
No. 12 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Davis Aggies
Aggie Field Kickoff 4:00 p.m.
Gauchos, Vom Steeg Get Over the Hump
If there was one team that had been a thorn in UCSB's side it was definitely Loyola Marymount. Entering last Friday's match with the Lions, the Gauchos had lost eight consecutive meetings to their Far West Region rivals and head coach Tim Vom Steeg had never beaten LMU in his seven years at the helm. Fortunately, Santa Barbara got that monkey off its back, defeating Loyola 1-0 in front of over 2,100 fans at Harder Stadium in its only game of the week. After battling to a scoreless tie for over 80 minutes of play, Andrew Proctor came up with a tremendous individual effort and scored the game-winning goal at the 83:52 mark. Goalkeeper Kyle Reynish made two huge saves in the final five minutes to preserve the victory and record his fourth shutout in six matches this season. UCSB out-shot LMU 11 to 7 for the match, with six of those shots on frame. With the win the Gauchos improved to 4-2-0 overall in 2006.
Scouting the Titans
UCSB resumes Big West Conference play this week with a match up at Cal State Fullerton Thursday night. The Gauchos and Titans have squared off a total of 42 times as members of the Big West and the MPSF and Fullerton holds a 22-18-2 advantage in the all-time series. Santa Barbara has dominated the series lately, winning the last five meetings by a combined scored of 12-3 with four shutouts. In 2005 Ivan Becerra scored twice leading the Gauchos to 4-0 victory in Fullerton October 6 and netted the game-winner in a 2-0 win in Santa Barbara October 29.
The Titans, who open league play against the Gauchos Thursday, own a 3-3-1 overall record after losing to UC Davis 4-0 and defeating Maine 3-0 in non-conference action last week. CSUF is led by freshman midfielder Michael Farfan who has tallied a team-high three goals and two assists this season, while senior forward Eugene Brooks leads the squad with 10 shots on frame for three goals. Junior Goalkeeper Brent Douglas has spent all but 24 minutes between the posts for Fullerton and holds a 1.57 goals against average with 28 saves.
Scouting the Aggies
After traveling to Fullerton, UCSB will head north to take on future Big West member UC Davis. The Gauchos lead the all-time series 8-2-2 after defeating the Aggies twice last season. In their first meeting of the year, Eric Avila netted the game's only goal in the 81st minute as UCSB shutout UC Davis 1-0 in Santa Barbara October 15. Avila came up big again when the Gauchos traveled to Davis, this time scoring the game winner in the 110th minute leading Santa Barbara to a 3-2 double overtime victory 11 days later.
The Aggies, who will officially become members of the Big West in 2007, enter Saturday's contest with a 4-4-0 mark after defeating Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly last weekend. Freshman midfielder Paul Marcoux headlines the Davis offense, leading the team with five goals in 2006. Fellow midfielder senior Mariano Arrua has notched a team-high four assists to go along with one goal. Senior keeper Charles Warne has started every game for the Aggies and owns a 1.47 goals against average and 23 saves.
Following last Friday's win over Loyola Marymount, the Gauchos enter play in week five with a national ranking as high as No. 12. The nod comes from College Soccer News, and is two spots higher than the No. 14 position they held last week. UCSB gained even more ground in the Soccer America Top 25, climbing from No. 19 a week ago to No. 14 this week. They also secured the 14th spot in this week's Soccer Times poll, moving up three spots. As far as the NSCAA/adidas poll goes, apparently the nation's coaches were not that impressed with the Gauchos' 1-0 shutout over LMU, and UCSB slipped from No. 22 to No. 25 in this week's Top 25. Santa Barbara is ranked 5th in the ultra-competitive Far West region.
Second Half Superiority
Through six games this season, the Gauchos have clearly played their best soccer after halftime. Breaking down what UCSB has done in the opening period this season and comparing it to the second half of play, you have to credit the Santa Barbara coaching staff with the ability to make the necessary adjustments at halftime. UCSB has scored 10 goals this season and six of those have come in the second half of play. In fact, the Gauchos have found the net in the opening period only twice this season, scoring three times against Akron in their first game of 2006 and breaking through less than two minutes before the break two weeks ago against Cal Poly. Overall, Santa Barbara has out-scored its opponents 6-3, holds a 38-25 shot advantage, and has dominated the corner kick category by a 24-8 margin in the second half of play. While the Gauchos are by no means a poor team in the first half--not allowing a single goal all season--it has been the second half of play that has decided the outcome in five of their six games in 2006.
Junior forward Andrew Proctor came up big for the Gauchos in their last game, scoring the game-winning goal in the 84th minute to give UCSB its first victory over Loyola Marymount since 1995. Coming in off the bench against the Lions, Proctor took a feed from senior Jeff Murphy going to his left just outside the box. He then crossed over, shaking a defender and, one-on-one with the keeper, fired from the left hand corner of the box from about 15 yards out for the score. The goal was the first of the season for Proctor and fourth of his career. Friday's goal also marked the first-career game-winner for the Burnaby, British Columbia native. Proctor has appeared in all six games for the Gauchos this season and earned his first start September 8 against Illinois at Chicago. He is now third on the team with three points after notching an assist on the Gauchos' second goal in the 2-0 win over Cal Poly.
Who Is This Guy?
In soccer, it is rarely news when a player does not score. Freshman forward Bongomin Otii has been so impressive to start the season though, that is the case. After becoming the first player in program history to score five goals in his first five games wearing the blue and gold, Otii's streak of three consecutive games with a goal was snapped against LMU. In fact, it was only the second match this season that the Denver native did not find the net, with the other coming in UCSB's 1-0 loss to Virginia. Called "one of the country's most feared strikers in the box" by Soccer America, Otii ranks 19th nationally with a 0.83 goals per game average. In addition to leading the team with five goals for 10 points, Otii also leads UCSB with 14 shots and a .357 shot percentage.
All In A Day's Work
The defensive monster that is Andy Iro did what he does seemingly every single time the Gauchos step onto the pitch yet again in the win over the Lions last Friday. With Iro in the middle, the Gaucho defensive has shown the ability to control the game from the backfield all season, shutting down the opposing team's offense and it was no different against LMU. Iro and the backline limited a Lion's squad that was averaging over 13 shots per game to just seven. Only three of those shots were on frame and two came in the final four minutes of the match after the Gauchos had taken a 1-0 lead. The defense was so good, that goalkeeper Kyle Reynish only had to make two saves in the match and they were both late. Now with four shutouts in six games, the Gauchos own the nation's sixth-best shutout percentage at 0.67. The Hermann Trophy candidate is also a big reason Santa Barbara ranks 14th with a .50 goals against average.
A New Murphy's Law
As good as the Gaucho's defense has been in their first six games this season, it is impossible to overlook the contribution of senior Jeff Murphy. Murphy has started all six matches on the left flank and has quietly been one of UCSB's most reliable defenders. The Yorba Linda, Calif. native had a tremendous showing against Loyola Marymount, consistently, taking possession away from the Lion's and thwarting numerous offensive pushes. Offensively, it was his play in the 84th minute that set up the game's only goal. After controlling a loose ball in the backfield, Murphy dribbled down the left side and across midfield before finding Proctor for the game-winning shot. The assist was the first of the season for Murphy and first since he assisted on the second goal in a 2-2 double overtime tie at UC Irvine October 14, 2005. With Murphy, Iro and Greg Curry healthy and back in the lineup for the first time this season, the Gauchos have one of the most formidable defensive trios in the country.
Lucky Number Three
Continuing to examine UCSB's defense, there is the all-important last line, the goalkeeper. Senior net minder Kyle Reynish has been outstanding for the Gauchos this season, allowing just three goals in 540 minutes of play. In fact, he has not allowed a goal in UCSB's four wins and two of the thee he has allowed came in the heartbreaking loss to the University of Illinois at Chicago September 8. With three goals allowed in six matches in 2006, Reynish has the nation's 12th-best goals against average at .50. He has recorded a total of 21 saves and sports a .875 save percentage, which ranks 13th. Last week Reynish and the Santa Barbara defense posted another shutout, this time against Loyola Marymount after limiting the Lions to just three shots on goal. The victory was the fourth shutout of the season for Reynish after he blanked No. 7 Akron in in a 5-0 win in week one, held No. 21 San Diego State at bay September 2, and hushed Cal Poly four days later. In only his second year as the Gauchos' starting keeper, he now has a total of 16 career shutouts.