Oct. 8, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara junior midfielder/forward Chris Pontius was named the College Soccer News Player of the Week for the week ending October 7, it was announced Monday. Pontius, who was also named the Big West Conference Player of the Week, scored four of the Gauchos' five goals last week, leading the team to league victories over 25th-ranked UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton.
Pontius has been on an absolute tear on the offensive side for Santa Barbara lately and continued to carry the load in the team's two matches last week. With the Fox Soccer Channel cameras rolling, the Yorba Linda, Calif. scored a career-best three goals, including the eventual game-winner in the 26th minute as UCSB routed UCI 4-0 in the College Soccer Game of the Week Wednesday. He became the first Gaucho to record a hat trick since Tyler Rosenlund tallied all three goals in UCSB's 3-2 win over Northwestern in the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals last season.
Arguably the most versatile player on the Santa Barbara roster, Pontius came up big again in the Gauchos contest with Cal State Fullerton Saturday, heading in the game's only goal on a service from Alfonso Motagalvan in the 78th minute. The Gauchos edged a scrappy Titan squad 1-0.
"It's a tremendous honor to be recognized on a national level like that," Pontius said. "I really have to credit my teammates though, because they made it easy all week and we're playing with great confidence right now so it's hard to be singled out individually when our two wins were a total team effort."
Pontius has now scored a goal in Santa Barbara's last four matches and leads the Big West with eight through 10 games. After scoring a total of four career goals prior to his junior campaign this season, he has now put in six of the team's last 10 goals over UCSB's current five match unbeaten streak. He also leads the conference with four game-winners and 17 total points.
This marks the first time Pontius has received either accolade during his three-year career and the second time a Gaucho has been named Big West Player of the Week in 2007. Sophomore midfielder Ciaran O'Brien earned the honor after scoring a goal and assisting on the game-winner when UCSB knocked off No. 3 SMU 2-1 in ovetime earlier this season.
Santa Barbara has won six of its last eight matches and improved to 6-2-2 overall with the pair of victories last week. UCSB is a perfect 3-0-0 against Big West foes and has outscored the opposition 9-0 in those games.
The Gauchos look to keep rolling when they take to the road for a showdown with rival Cal State Northridge Wednesday, October 10 at 2:00 p.m.