October 1, 2010

No. 17 Gauchos Open Four-Match Homestand vs. UC Davis

Oct. 1, 2010

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• The Schedule
Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010, 7 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (3-2-2) vs. UC Davis (2-6-0)
Series record vs. Aggies: 12-4-4
Last meeting: W, 2-0 (Nov. 7, 2009)
Streak: Won 2
Game available on Gametracker
Broadcast LIVE on AM 1290 and newspress.com

• Home Sweet Home
Following Wednesday's disappointing Big West-opening loss to Cal State Fullerton, UC Santa Barbara will return to Meredith Field at Harder Stadium for a four-match homestand - its longest of the season - this Saturday. The Gauchos are 1-1-1 at home so far this year, but have gone 229-119-40 (.642) all-time at Harder Stadium and 84-23-13 (.754) since Tim Vom Steeg took over the program in 1999.

• The Wild, Wild (Big) West
For the first time since UCSB rejoined the Big West in soccer in 2001, the Gauchos dropped their conference opener after being defeated 1-0 by Fullerton in overtime. The loss snapped an 11-game win streak against the Titans. This should be no reason for the Gauchos to fret, though, they have posted a winning conference record during the past nine seasons. In 2009, they went 8-1-1 in league play and captured the regular season Big West title. The Gauchos were chosen to finish first in the league this year in a preseason poll of the conference coaches, receiving six of the seven first-place votes.

• Working Overtime
The Gauchos should be getting paid time and a half considering the number of overtime games they have played this season. UCSB has had four of their eight matches go into overtime, already matching its total number of overtime games from 2009. The Gauchos have yet to record a victory in those contests, going 0-2-2 in extra time. The most overtime games a Vom Steeg-led team has played in a season was eight during the 2004 season.

• Sam I Am Out
Both of the Gauchos' Sams - Garza and Hayden - will be sitting out Saturday's contest against UC Davis after receiving red cards on Wednesday and Hayden will also be out for the matches against Cal State Fullerton (Oct. 6) and Cal Poly (Oct. 12). It will mark the first time this season that neither will make an appearance and the first time since Hayden joined the squad in 2009 that he will not be starting a match. Hayden has played every minute in goal for the Gauchos this year and missed just 36:25 minutes in 2009 when he was injured in the middle of the Oct. 18 match at Northridge. He subbed back into that game and played the final 28 minutes.

• Next Line of Defense
With Hayden out, UCSB will call on freshman goalkeeper Eric Reyes to make his first collegiate appearance on Saturday. Reyes hails from Pembroke Pines, Fla. and played at University High School at NSU. He is a member of the Puerto Rican U-21 National Team pool and was a two-time ESPN RISE All-American in high school. This will mark the first time a freshman goalkeeper will make a start since 2008 when true freshman Trond Helge Takset started against Air Force (Aug. 29) and redshirt freshman Kristopher Minton earned the start at Colombia (Sept. 14).

• Honor Roll
Freshman forward David Opoku and senior goalkeeper Sam Hayden each garnered Big West Player of the Week honors for the second consecutive week after helping lead the Gauchos to a 2-0 victory over UCLA last Friday. Opoku was named the conference's Offensive Player of the Week after scoring the game-winning goal in the 75th minute. The score was picked as the LA Soccer News Goal of the Week. Hayden, meanwhile, was named the Big West's Co-Defensive Player of the Week - sharing the honor with UC Irvine goalkeeper Andrew Fontein - after tying his career-high of six saves and posting his third straight shutout. They are the first UCSB players to earn back-to-back player of the week honors since Ciaran O'Brien did in 2007.

• UCSB Sets New Attendance Record
The 15,896 fans that showed up to Harder Stadium last Friday evening to watch UCSB knock-off UCLA marked the largest crowd to ever attend an NCAA Division I soccer match at an on-campus site. The attendance was the third largest for an NCAA regular season match (the top two crowds were recorded at Busch Stadium) and the 16th biggest crowd overall, including NCAA Tournament semifinal and final matches. The crowd surpassed the Gauchos' previous Harder Stadium record, which was set on Dec. 4, 2004 when UCSB faced Virginia Commonwealth in the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals, by 4,682 people.

• Breaking Through
After being selected as a consensus preseason top-10 team in all five national college soccer polls, the Gauchos had slipped out of the top-30 in every poll the last two weeks. This week, UCSB has resurfaced in the polls. The Gauchos are ranked No. 17 by Soccer America, No. 23 by College Soccer News and No. 26 by Top Drawer Soccer and UCSB is receiving votes in the Soccer Times and NSCAA polls.

• Defensive Behavior
The Gaucho defense has been solid to start the season, posting a 0.70 goals against average, which currently ranks second in the Big West and 22nd nationally. Meanwhile, the team's .846 saves percentage - recorded by Sam Hayden - is 21st nationally. UCSB recorded 409:56 shutout minutes between the Sept. 10 game against Davidson and Wednesday's overtime goal by Fullerton. The last time the program held its opposition scoreless for that long was in 2009 when the Gauchos posted a school-record 595:16 shutout minutes (from Oct. 18 thru Nov. 14).

• Freshmen Ranked Among Top-100
Fifi Baiden and David Opoku have been named on Top Drawer Soccer's College Freshmen Top 100 list. Baiden is ranked No. 36 and Opoku is No. 89 on the list. Sophomore Sam Garza and junior Danny Barrera are on the upperclassmen list, coming in at 43rd and 55th, respectively.

• 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 Santa Barbara Airport
UCSB Athletics would like to extend a special thank you to the Santa Barbara Airport, which is the official sponsor of Saturday's match against UC Davis!

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