September 22, 2010

Gauchos to Host No. 7 UCLA on Friday

Sept. 22, 2010

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• The Schedule
Friday, Sept. 24, 2010, 7 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara (2-2-2) vs. No. 7 UCLA (4-1-1)
Series record vs. Bruins: 3-30-3
Last meeting: L, 2-1 (Nov. 29, 2009 - NCAA Third Round)
Last win: W, 2-1 (Dec. 3, 2006 - College Cup Championship)
Last home match vs. UCLA: L, 3-1 (Oct. 5, 2006)
Game available on Gametracker
Broadcast LIVE on AM 1290 and newspress.com

• Friday Night Lights
UC Santa Barbara returns home this week to host seventh-ranked UCLA in a non-conference match on Friday, Sept. 24 at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. The Gauchos last faced the Bruins in the Third Round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament when UCLA ended UCSB's season with a 2-1 victory in Westwood.

• Turning The Corner
After getting out to its slowest start since head coach Tim Vom Steeg took over the program in 1999 (0-2-2), UCSB turned a corner last weekend and shut out sixth-ranked Harvard and Buffalo to post a 2-0 record at the Lobo Classic, which was hosted by the University of New Mexico. The Gaucho offense, which had scored just three goals across its first four games of the season, outscored its opposition 6-0 and five different players found the back of the net for UCSB.

• Offensive Onslaught
The Gauchos' 4-0 win over Buffalo on Sunday morning marked their largest margin of victory since UCSB defeated Rutgers on Sept. 11, 2009 by the same score in front of the Fox Soccer Channel cameras. UCSB has scored eight goals over the last three contests; the last time the Gauchos had eight or more goals in a three-game span was Sept. 6-13, 2009 when they totaled nine goals against Pitt (W, 4-3 in OT), Rutgers (W, 4-0) and Loyola Marymount (L, 2-1).

• Down And Out In Santa Barbara
After being selected as a consensus preseason top-10 team in all five national college soccer polls, the Gauchos slipped out of the top-30 in each poll last week. Prior to then, the last time UCSB hadn't been included in the national polls was during the 2006 season when the team was absent from every national poll for three weeks in mid-October. The Gauchos went on to turn that season around and won the national championship. UCSB is still ranked 36th in the Top Drawer Soccer poll and is receiving votes in the College Soccer News poll.

• Honor Roll
Several Gauchos garnered recognition for their parts in last week's Lobo Classic wins. Senior goalkeeper Sam Hayden was named the Lobo Classic Defensive MVP, the Big West Defensive Player of the Week and was placed on College Soccer News' National Team of the Week. Freshman forward David Opoku garnered All-Tournament honors, was picked as the Big West Offensive Player of the Week and was named UCSBgauchos.com Gaucho of the Week. Junior midfielder Danny Barrera was named the Lobo Classic Offensive MVP. Sam Garza and Machael David rounded out the honorees with all-tournament accolades.

• Opoku On Target
Freshman forward David Opoku scored his first pair of career goals over the weekend, tallying the second goal in each of the Gauchos' wins. Additionally he assisted Sam Garza's third goal of the year in the win over Buffalo. After his productive weekend, he now ranks second on the team and is tied eighth among Big West players for points (5).

• Don't Mess With Texas
Through six games, Sam Garza has been UCSB's most consistent offensive performer with three goals and three assists for nine points. The Highland Village, Texas native is tied for the Big West lead in points and is tied for second in assists. He also leads the conference with his 3.83 shots per game average. Nationally, he is 35th for total points, 45th for points per game (1.5) and 31st for assists.

• Hayden Making History
Senior goalkeeper Sam Hayden has carved his name in the UCSB and Big West record books in fewer than two seasons with the Gauchos. After his pair of shutouts this weekend, he is now tied for seventh on the conference career list (18) and now has outright ownership of the fifth spot in the Gaucho annuls. He is one win away from 10th on the Big West all-time career wins list with 19. Additionally, Hayden's 0.75 career goals against average ranks as the best in the history of the conference and the UCSB men's soccer program.

• Pair of Gauchos Ranked As Top-100
Sam Garza and Danny Barrera have been named to Top Drawer Soccer's list of National Top 100 Men. The ranking includes the highest rated upperclassmen college soccer players in the nation and is updated weekly. Garza is ranked 43rd for the second week and Barrera has been ranked 55th, two spots higher than his position on last week's list.

• Defensive Behavior
The Gaucho defense has been solid to start the season, posting a 0.77 goals against average, which currently ranks second in the Big West and 36th nationally. The current average isn't far off of the Gauchos' 0.73 goals against average in 2009.

• Terrific Timing
Juniors Joe Eubanks and Tim Pontius chose great times to score their first goals of the year as each provided a game-winning goal over the weekend. Eubanks scored in the 43rd minute against Harvard on Friday to give UCSB a 1-0 lead at halftime. The forward has gone 2-for-2 in his career shot attempts. Pontius' goal in the eighth minute against Buffalo proved to be the game-clincher. It was his third career goal and second game-winning strike.

• Bruin Banter
UCLA - which is ranked as high as No. 7 by Top Drawer Soccer this week - enters Friday's contest with a 4-1-1 overall record and is coming off of a 3-2 overtime victory over San Diego this past Sunday. Kelyn Rowe leads the Bruins with eight points this season (3 goals, 2 assists). UCLA holds a 30-3-3 series record against the Gauchos and won the last pairing: a 2-1 victory in the NCAA Tournament Third Round on Nov. 29, 2009. The Gauchos' last win over the Bruins was in the 2006 College Cup Championship game when UCSB won 2-1 to take home its first NCAA title.

• Coming Up
UCSB will open its 2010 Big West Conference schedule next week when the Gauchos travel to Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday, Sept. 29 for a 7 p.m. match-up.

• UCSB to Honor Gaucho Supporters With Golden Scarves
This year's "Golden Scarf" ceremony will take place at halftime of Friday's match against UCLA. This year, honorees will be awarded a Golden Scarf for their dedication, passion and commitment to UCSB, the sport of soccer and/or the community.

• The Cup is Coming, The Cup is Coming!
UCSB is the proud host of the 2010 NCAA Men's College Cup which will take place Dec. 10 and 12 at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. This marks the first time since the 2004 season that the Cup has been held on the West Coast. All-Session passes for the College Cup can be purchased by calling (805) 893-UCSB, visiting the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or buy online by clicking here.

• Thank You Cox Communications
UCSB Athletics would like to extend a special thank you to Cox Communications, which is the official sponsor of Friday's game against UCLA.