Oct. 25, 2005
This Week's Schedule
Wednesday, October 26
No. 17 UC Santa Barbara (8-3-3) at UC Davis (6-6-2)
UC Davis' Aggie Field Kickoff 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 29
No. 17 UC Santa Barbara (8-3-3) vs. Cal State Fullerton (4-9-1)
UCSB's Harder Stadium Kickoff 7:00 p.m.
The Week That Was
UCSB went 1-1-0 last week, beginning with a closely fought 1-0 loss at No. 11 UCLA on Thursday, followed by a 2-0 win over Big West and Central Coast rival Cal Poly on Saturday. Despite out-shooting the Bruins 10-8, the Gauchos could not capitalize on their scoring opportunities against the Bruins and fell 1-0 in the non-conference match. UCSB bounced back against the Mustangs when Andy Iro scored the game winner and Ivan Becerra added his team-high ninth goal of the season two minutes later in the 2-0 victory. Santa Barbara improved to 8-3-3 overall and 4-0-2 in the Big West.
This week the 17th-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team finds itself somewhere it has not been for over two years: second place in the Big West Conference standings. After defeating Cal Poly 2-0, the Gauchos remain undefeated in league play at 4-0-2, but fell two points behind Cal State Northridge (5-0-1) in the conference standings after the Matadors beat UC Irvine and UC Riverside in conference action last week. Their position in the BWC this week marks the first time Santa Barbara has not held at least a share of the conference lead since finishing second in 2003. Needless to say, the defending Big West Champions look to get back on top this week, with a head-to-head match-up with the Matadors in Northridge next week.
How They Rank
UCSB enters this week's action with a national ranking of 22 in the current NSCAA Coaches' poll, up one spot from last week's 23rd rank. After moving from the NSCAA Top 25 for the first time in three years in weeks two through four, Santa Barbara finds itself in the coaches' poll for the fourth consecutive week. The Gauchos jump-started their climb back into the NSCAA poll with a 3-1 victory over Cal Poly in their first meeting of the year on September 28th. After the loss to UCLA, Santa Barbara slipped to the number 17 spot in the Soccer Times coaches' poll, falling three spots from the 14th position they held a week ago. In the media polls, the Gauchos are ranked 19th by College Soccer News and 25th in Soccer America.
UC Davis Game Capsule
UCSB starts this week early on the road against future Big West member UC Davis. The Gauchos lead the all-time series 7-2-2 and defeated the Aggies 1-0 on a late Eric Avila goal, his second on the season, on a pass from Eric Frimpong just two weeks ago. The Gauchos defense was spectacular as well, limiting Davis to three shots total and zero on goal. Davis will officially become a member of the Big West Conference in 2007.
UC Davis enters Wednesday's match with a 6-6-2 overall record after a 3-1 loss at Cal State Fullerton Saturday. The Aggies have netted 12 goals through 14 games this season, averaging just .80 goals per game. Sophomore midfielder Nicholas Lind directs the offensive and leads the team with three goals and two assists for eight points. Junior keeper Charles Warne has started eight games in goal and has a 0.92 goals against average with 28 saves. Freshman Juan Hernandez has been impressive as well, with two goals and two assists as a starter in all 14 games.
Cal State Fullerton Game Capsule
Following the Gauchos' bout with UC Davis, the team returns home to host Cal State Fullerton on Saturday. The Titans lead the overall series between the two schools 22-17-2, but the Gauchos have had more success lately, winning the last four meetings. Earlier this season, UCSB defeated CSF 4-0 in Fullerton on October 5, led by Ivan Becerra's two goals, a feat he has accomplished four times in 2005. Iro and Frimpong also found the net in the victory.
Cal State Fullerton enters Saturday's contest with an overall record of 4-9-1, 1-4-0 in the Big West after defeating UC Davis 3-1 last Saturday. The Titans have tallied 14 goals in 14 matches and lead the Big West with 77 saves. Senior forward Jose Barragan and junior midfielder Arron Craggs are the players to watch offensively, as they pace the squad with four goals and two assists apiece. Junior Bobby Armstrong has started ten games between the posts and currently holds a 2.70 goals against average with 42 total saves.
Fun With Numbers
Despite slipping into second place in the Big West Conference standings, the Gauchos still find themselves leading the conference in a lot of ways, statistically. UCSB, who has not lost in league play, either leads or is in second place in 12 out of 14 Big West statistical categories. The Gauchos lead the conference in goals scored (29) and assists (28), giving them a commanding lead in the race for the conference scoring title with 86 points. Defensively UCSB has been stellar as well, leading the Big West in goals allowed with 12, goals against average (0.82) and shutouts (six).
It's All About The Defense
With UCSB's early season offensive woes behind them, it seems as though Santa Barbara has found a few answers to the defensive questions that arose with the departure of All-Americans Tony Lochhead and Dan Kennedy. The Gauchos have tried a multitude of defensive lineups this season and it looks like they found a winner. Last week the D-unit of seniors Chris Hughes, Pat Scott, and Nate Boyden, along with sophomore Andy Iro and junior goalkeeper Kyle Reynish, held the UCSB opposition in check. In the loss at UCLA, Santa Barbara allowed the Bruins just two shots on goal. Two days later, they allowed just nine shots in the match against Cal Poly and Reynish earned his sixth shutout of the season, and his second in the last three matches. And looking back to two weeks ago they held UC Davis to zero shots on goal, three total, in the shutout win. Overall in the last three matches Santa Barbara out-shot the opposition 48-20 overall, with 20-7 advantage in shots on goal.
Offense Helps Too
While the team has only recently been able to iron out some of the kinks defensively, the Gaucho offense has been clicking for quite some time now. Having netted 28 goals in its last 12 matches, UCSB has out-shot 11 of its 14 opponents this season, tallying 217 shots overall to their opponent's 130. The squad has a +1.16 scoring margin in 2005 and they have 28 assists, compared to only nine for its opposition. Santa Barbara's offensive prowess also stands up to the Big West competition, as they lead the conference in scoring (86), goals per game (2.07) and assists per game (2.00). In all, the Gauchos lead the conference in five out of the six team-statistical categories.
Guess Who's Back
After missing time in UCSB's last three matches due to an injury suffered three weeks ago against Cal State Northridge, senior forward Ivan Becerra finally looked like himself Saturday against Cal Poly. Becerra netted the Gauchos' second goal of the night when he one-timed a dish from Tyler Rosenlund in the 68th minute of play following a series of give-and-goes between the two. Becerra's goal was his first since October 5, the final game of his impressive scoring tear. Beginning with the game against UC Riverside in week three, Becerra single-handedly secured victories against the Highlanders, Alabama A&M, Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton, netting two goals in each contest. His nine goals leads the team and are tops in the Big West. Becerra has also recorded two assists this season giving him 20 total points and first place in the race for the conference scoring title.
Byrne's Still Burning
Senior midfielder and team co-captain Bryan Byrne's name showed up in the scoring column this past week yet again. After posting a game-high four shots in the match with No. 11 UCLA, Byrne picked up the assist on what proved to be the game-winner Saturday against Cal Poly when hit a well-placed corner kick from the left that led to an Andy Iro header just inside the far post to put the Gauchos up 1-0. In the last six games, the Irishman has tallied two goals and three assists to go with his 18 shots. He is second on the team with four goals and 12 points. His four assists are tied with two others for tops on the squad.
Preseason All-American Andy Iro had an impressive showing last week. Against the Bruins, the sophomore defender helped lead a defense that held No. 11 UCLA to just two shots on goal, while tallying three shots himself, offensively. Iro stepped up Saturday as well, putting in the game-winner against Cal Poly when he rose above the Mustang defenders to reach a Bryan Bryne corner and knocked in a header in the 66th minute. The goal was Iro's third of the season, which ranks third on the team. The 2004 Big West Freshman of the Year has two assists, giving him eight points on the year and leads the Gauchos with a .250 shot percentage. And had it not been for a stellar team-save near the end of the first half by a Bruin defender, he would have netted the equalizer for UCSB last Thursday's battle in Westwood.
Junior goalkeeper Kyle Reynish has been getting the job done all season long between the pipes. He has played all 1320 minutes for the Gauchos in 2005 and has 44 saves for a .786 save percentage, which is first in the Big West, while his 0.82 goals against average is also tops in the conference. In the match-up with the Bruins, the Valencia, Calif. native gave up just one goal on a set piece when one of his defenders missed his assignment, And although he was only credited with one save as the Santa Barbara defense held the nation's 11th-ranked team to two shots on goal, he thwarted a number of UCLA attacks before they started and closed down the angle on a couple of one-on-ones, forcing the opposition to shoot wide.. On Saturday, he kept the Mustangs at bay, making a total of five saves, including two stops that would have resulted in sure-goals for Cal Poly on the way to his conference-leading sixth shutout of the season. Reynish has held the opposition to one goal or less in 10 of UCSB's 14 matches.
Hermann Trophy Watch
Sophomore Hermann Trophy Candidate Tyler Rosenlund returned to the starting lineup this week after missing significant time in the Gauchos' last three matches due to an injury he suffered against Cal Poly on September 28th. Getting the starting nod last Saturday for the first time since the showdown with Northridge on October 8th, Rosenlund made the most of it. He connected with Becerra in the 68th minute, setting up Becerra in the box for the Gauchos' second goal. After playing a very limited roll two weeks ago at UC Irvine and at home against UC Davis, Rosenlund saw some a good amount of minutes late in UCSB's match at UCLA, spurring life into the Gauchos' offense, creating a number of quality scoring opportunities against a team that is yet to allow a goal at home this season. The Canadian Youth National Team star is tied for third on the team with eight points off two goals and four assists. His four assists ties him for the team lead.