No. 10 UCSB Takes On Cal Poly In Battle For First Place, UC Riverside In Road Match-Ups This Week
Oct. 16, 2007
Match No. 12
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
No. 10 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal Poly Mustangs
Alex G. Spanos Stadium
Kickoff 7:00 p.m.
Match No. 13
Saturday, October 20, 2007
No. 10 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Riverside Highlanders
UCR Soccer Stadium
Kickoff 3:00 p.m.
For The Record
UC Santa Barbara's current unbeaten streak reached a season-best six games after the Gauchos battled UC Davis to a 2-2 tie in an absolute dogfight at Harder Stadium last Friday. After defeating the Aggies 4-0 in Davis September 29, the rematch was much closer with each team holding a one goal lead in a contest that featured 39 fouls, nine yellow cards, and four reds. Quincy Amarikwa gave UC Davis a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute when he charged a ball in front of the Gaucho backline and scored. The visitor's advantage held until UCSB finally pushed through in 65th when Alfonso Motagalvan punched home a ball on the goal line to tie the score. Santa Barbara then struck again 51 seconds later when a rebound bounced directly to Tino Nuñez in the box and he fired a rocket to the far post from 15 yards out to give the Gauchos a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately, that lead did not stand up as the Aggies responded with the equalizer in the 85th minute on a goal from Jake Mogelson. UCSB could not capitalize on a two player advantage in the second overtime period and the match ended in a 2-2 tie. With the tie, Santa Barbara remained unbeaten in Big West play at 3-0-1 and now stands at 6-2-3 overall.
Gauchos On The Air and Web
For UCSB fans that cannot make it to Cal Poly Wednesday, you need not worry. KCSB's dynamic team of broadcasters will be following the Gauchos as they battle their Central Coast rivals this week with first place in the Big West standings on the line. John Greely and Juan Salas will have the call live from Alex G. Spanos Stadium on KCSB 91.9 in Santa Barbara. Fans can also listen to the match online by logging on to www.kcsb.org.
Scouting The Mustangs
UCSB will take on Cal Poly Wednesday night with first place on the line in the first of two road matches this week. The Gauchos have gotten the better of the Mustangs over the years and lead the overall series 37-12-2 after sweeping both contests during its national championship season a year ago. Santa Barbara posted a pair of 2-0 victories over the Central Coast rivals with Chris Pontius and Bongomin Otii finding the net in the first meeting Sept. 5 at Harder Stadium and Eric Avila and Otii doing the scoring in the rematch in San Luis Obispo Oct. 14. The Gauchos have won the previous 12 meetings, outscoring the Mustangs 35-6 over that span.
Cal Poly enters Wednesday's showdown with an identical 3-0-1 record in Big West play and an impressive 8-1-1 mark overall after defeating UC Davis 3-0 on Sunday. After finishing the 2006 season 7-8-4 overall and fourth place in the league standings at 3-5-2, the Mustangs have already won more games this season than any other year as a member of the Big West.
Cal Poly has outscored its opponents 20-8 through the first 10 games of 2007 and ranks third in the Big West averaging two goals per match. Sophomore forward Daniel Cumming leads the squad with five goals to go with two assists for a team-high 12 points, while current Big West Player of the Week David Zamora also has 12 points on four goals and four assists. Junior goalkeeper Eric Branagan-Franco has started nine contests between the posts and owns a goals against average of 0.80 with 28 saves and league-best six shutouts.
Scouting The Highlanders
After the match-up with Cal Poly, UCSB will play at UC Riverside Saturday looking to avenge a 1-0 defeat at the UCR Soccer Stadium last season. The Gauchos hold a 16-2-0 mark against the Highlanders all-time and had won 10 straight in the series before Nathan Paterson scored the only goal of the game on Oct. 11, 2006. The win was Riverside's first over Santa Barbara as a Division I program. The Gauchos responded with a convincing 4-0 victory over the Highlanders at Harder Stadium Nov. 4 as Eric Frimpong, Nick Perera, Eric Avila, and Brennan Tennelle tallied goals in the regular season finale.
UC Riverside enters competition this week with a 1-1-2 mark against league foes and an overall record of 4-3-4 after battling Cal State Northridge to a scoreless tie on Saturday. The Highlanders will host Cal State Fullerton Wednesday before the Gauchos' visit this weekend.
The Highlanders have scored 14 goals in 2007 but have also given up 14 to the opposition through 11 matches. Freshman forward Cito Soriano has put in a team-high four goals and recorded two assists for 10 points, while sophomore forward Paterson is not far behind with three goals and one assist. Keeper Charles Alamo has been the guy in the net, starting all 11 games and has posted a goals against average of 1.05 with four shutouts. The senior leads the Big West with 46 saves.
An Eye On The Polls
With the competitive nature of college soccer and the way the rankings have played out to this point, you would expect UCSB to fall slightly in the national polls after finishing the week without a win and that's exactly what happened. After tying unranked UC Davis at home, Santa Barbara slipped one spot in the weekly NSCAA/adidas coaches poll, ending its two week climb, and enters a crucial week of Big West play on the road with a ranking of No. 15. In the media polls, the Gauchos stayed put at No. 10 in the current College Soccer News Top 30, securing that spot for the second week in a row. UCSB holds the No. 13 position in the Soccer America Top 25 this week, down two spots from the No. 11 slot the team enjoyed last week. Lastly, UCSB also fell two spots in this week's SoccerTimes Top 25 and comes in at No. 13 after securing the No. 11 slot a week ago to round out the polls.
A Turning Point
While the Gauchos have traditionally fared well against Cal Poly and have been absolutely dominant in the series lately, winning the last 12 meetings, last year's match in San Luis Obispo was more significant for UCSB than any of the rest. The Gauchos arrived on the campus of Cal Poly last season having lost four of six and the unthinkable had just happened three days earlier: a loss to UC Riverside. At 7-6 overall and 3-2 in Big West play, head coach Tim Vom Steeg was looking to turn things around and, unfortunately for the Mustangs, this would be the game when Santa Barbara got going in the right direction. Tyler Rosenlund connected with Eric Avila and Bongomin Otti on scoring plays just 37 seconds apart in the 12th minute and the Gaucho defense took care of the rest on the way to a 2-0 victory. UCSB never looked back from that point, winning 10 of its last 11 contests on the way to the program's first national championship. A win over fellow Big West front runner Cal Poly Wednesday would be just as sweet at this point in 2007.
Barometer For Success
Although the Gauchos' consecutive shutout streak to start Big West play ended at three games and the defense's span of over 330 scorless minutes was snapped when UC Davis scored at the 8:38 mark last Friday, the offense continued to perform extremely well. While the Aggies were able to hold the Gauchos down for roughly 65 minutes, Santa Barbara finally got on the board at the 64:52 mark and then took a 2-1 lead with another goal less than a minute later. UCSB has now scored two goals or more in seven of its 11 matches this season and has averaged nearly three goals per game over the team's current six match unbeaten streak. The Gauchos have not lost when scoring at least twice in 2007 and hold a record of 5-0-2 in those matches, compared to a mark of 1-2-1 when scoring less than two goals this season. The defending national champions rank second in the Big West with 24 goals scored and a per game average of 2.18 through 11 matches this season. A total of nine different players have found the net in 2007.
Motagalvan Continues to Clean Up
After a very impressive sophomore campaign, Alfonso Motagalvan has elevated his game even further as a junior in 2007. An excellent defensive midfielder, the native of Gilroy, Calif. has had a career year offensively as well, and continued to produce in the Gauchos' clash with UC Davis last week. After senior midfielder Brennan Tennelle was unable to finish the rebound on a diving save by Aggie keeper Brian Wickers, Motagalvan was there to clean up the play and punched the ball home at the goal line to tie the score at the 64:52 mark. After scoring just one goal in 39 career matches prior to the 2007 season, Motagalvan scored his third of the season against UC Davis and is now tied with two other players for second on the team in terms of goals scored. The goal was also his second in the last three matches. Motagalvan is also second on the squad with three assists, with two of those coming in the last three games.
Junior midfielder/forward Chris Pontius finally came back down to earth in Santa Barbara's only match last week after turning in an unbelievable performance two weeks ago. The Yorba Linda, Calif. native was named both the College Soccer News and Soccer America Player of the Week for the week ending October 7 after scoring four of the Gauchos' five goals and leading the team to league victories over 25th-ranked UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton. Pontius' streak of consecutive matches with a goal ended a four -- a feat that ranks fourth on the UCSB all-time charts -- after he failed to score against UC Davis last Friday. He did take three shots in the match with the Aggies, with two of those coming on frame, and was credited with an assist on the Gauchos' first goal in the 65th minute. Pontius still leads the Big West with eight goals through 11 games this season and also ranks tops among conference players averaging 0.73 goals and 1.55 points per game. He has scored half of UCSB's 12 goals over the team's current six match unbeaten streak and his per game average ranks 13th nationally. The Gauchos are 4-1-1 when Pontius has found the net this season.
Finishing With A Bang
Another player that has been very productive on the offensive side this season is senior forward Tino Nuñez. Like teammates Chris Pontius and Alfonso Motagalvan, Nuñez has had a breakout year in terms of putting the ball in the back of the net and has already doubled his career goal total with seven regular season games remaining. After scoring a total of three goals in 42 career matches at UCSB after transferring from Compton Community College in 2004, Nuñez has already scored three times this season. He put in the go-ahead goal in the Gauchos' showdown with UC Davis last week, sending a rocket to the far post from 15 yards out on a rebound in the 66th minute. The goal was his first since he gave the Gauchos a 1-0 lead against Columbia September 21. Along with Avila, Motagalvan, and sophomore midfielder Ciaran O'Brien, the Long Beach, Calif. native is tied for second on the team with three goals this season and has also dished out two assists for eight total points, which ranks fourth on the squad. Nuñez is one goal shy of cracking the Big West's top 10 in his final season.
Cintas Getting An Opportunity
Sophomore midfielder C.J. Cintas has had the opportunity to step in and play this season and he has proven that he will be a reliable option off of the bench as the Gauchos draw closer to a sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. After appearing in just three matches as a freshman in 2006, the native of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii has appeared in six contests so far this season, including each of the last three. With freshman defender Michael Boxall sitting out due to yellow card accumulation, Cintas made his first-career start October 3 against 25th-ranked UC Irvine and was a huge part of the Gauchos' impressive 4-0 shutout win. He came off the bench against Cal State Fullerton two weeks ago and UC Davis last week, and finished with a career-high two shots in the 2-2 tie with the Aggies.
Iro, Avila Named To Hermann Award Watch List
Senior defender Andy Iro and junior midfielder Eric Avila were recently named to the 2007 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List, marking the first time in program history that two Gauchos were selected for the prestigious list that will eventually determine the NCAA Division I Player of the Year. The defending national champions are one of only two schools in the nation that had multiple players named to the Watch List, joining senior goalkeeper Matt Allen and junior forward Byron Dacy of Creighton. UCSB has now had a total of four players named to the list after Iro received the honor in 2006 and former teammate Tyler Rosenlund was selected in 2005. The winner of the M.A.C.'s Hermann Trophy will be determined by a panel of NSCAA Division I member coaches. A list of 15 semifinalists will be announced in November, and three finalists will be named in early December in conjunction with the NCAA Division I College Cup. The final three will be invited to the Missouri Athletic Club on Friday, January 11, 2008 and the winner will be announced during a nationally-televised news conference that evening.