No. 13 UCSB Faces Two Top Big West Teams This Week

No. 13 UCSB Faces Two Top Big West Teams This Week

Oct. 28, 2008

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• The Schedule
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 2:30 p.m. No. 13 UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal State Northridge (6-5-4, 2-1-3) at Cal State Northridge's Matador Field Game available on Gametracker

Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
No. 13 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 20 UC Irvine (8-1-6, 1-1-4) at UCSB's Harder Stadium Game broadcast on KCSB 91.9 FM and streaming online at Game available on Gametracker

• Set THE Record
UC Santa Barbara will aim to set the NCAA attendance record in its Nov. 5 game vs. Cal Poly, the Gauchos' final regular-season home match. The current attendance record for a regular-season home soccer match - played on a university site - is 12,224 which was done by Fresno State in 1987. The largest crowd UCSB has attracted was 11,214 on Dec. 4, 2004 against Virginia Commonwealth in the NCAA quarterfinals.

• Making His Mark
With his 12th goal this season in the win over Cal State Fullerton, senior Chris Pontius continues to etch his name in the UCSB history books. The goal, which set a career-high, ties him for 10th all-time for goals in a season. That gives the forward 27 goals for his career, tying him for sixth all-time. Pontius is tied with Doug McKibbon (1968-72) for sixth place and remains one goal behind current assistant coach Neil Jones' mark set between 2001-04. He has 62 career points, which is seventh all-time in Gaucho history. The goal vs. the Titans also was the fourth straight game Pontius has scored a goal, something he's now done twice this season and three times in his career. Pontius has taken 74 shots this year, good for seventh by a Gaucho in a single season and his 154 career shots ranks seventh as well.

• Points for Pontius
Pontius, a Hermann Trophy candidate, leads the Big West in shots with 74 (4.93 per game) and ranks 10th nationally in goals per game (0.80) and 15th in the nation in points per game (1.80). Those two totals also rank him second in the Big West. Pontius' three game-winning goals also ranks second in the Big West. Pontius' 12 goals this year are one more than he had last season when he was named the Big West Offensive Player of the Year.

• RPI Ranking
In the latest RPI rankings, released on Oct. 28, UCSB's RPI ranked 14th in the nation as the Gauchos trail only UC Davis (12th) among Big West schools. Two teams the Gauchos have played - Indiana and Wake Forest - rank first and third, respectively, in the latest RPI rankings. UCSB's two opponents this week, Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine, rank 43 and 37.

• Rise Up
With the 2-1 victory over Cal State Fullerton last week, the Gauchos moved up in every national ranking with the team's highest rank being 13 courtesy of Soccer America. It is the Gauchos' highest ranking since the third week of the season before they dropped consecutive matches to Rutgers and Columbia. UCSB is ranked No. 14 in the NSCAA poll and No. 15 in both the College Soccer News and Top Drawer Soccer polls. The Gauchos are 16th in the Soccer Times rankings. UCSB also is ranked third in the NSCAA Far West poll.

• Perera's Points Production
Senior Nick Perera scored for the third time in the team's past three games and his game-winner against Cal State Fullerton was his second such goal this season. Perera now has five goals this season - two shy of his high set in 2006 - and 13 points, which is second on the team. Perera, whose three assists are one shy of his career high, has scored four times in the Gauchos' past six games. In fact, the Gauchos are 3-1 in games in which he scores a goal.

• Gauchos' Goals
With 31 goals through 15 games, UCSB is 19th in the nation in goals per game and tops in the conference, averaging 2.07. Within the Big West, the Gauchos average the most points per game with 5.87, while their 261 shots are easily the most in the league. Defensively, the Gauchos have allowed the third-most goals in the Big West, giving up 26, while their goals against average is second to last at 1.67.

• Safe at Home
Harder Stadium has always been a friendly place to play for the Gauchos, with the team holding a 75-18-10 home mark under Tim Vom Steeg. However, the two losses at home already this season are one more than the Gauchos dropped last year. The last time UCSB lost two matches at home in a season was in 2006 when they finished 11-2-0. UCSB has not lost more than two matches at home since the 2000 season when they finished 3-5-1. Since 2005, in fact, the Gauchos are 29-6-6 at Harder Stadium.

• Africa Outreach
The Gauchos are running a donation drive to bring needed sports equipment to Africa. Donations of new or used sports equipment, clothing or shoes are greatly appreciated. Items can be dropped off at any of the remaining Gaucho home games - Nov. 1 vs. UC Irvine and Nov. 5 vs. Cal Poly.

• Unavailable
Defender Michael Boxall, who is one of three Gauchos to start every game this season, will see his streak end when he has to sit out Wednesday's match against Cal State Northridge. Boxall picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the win over Fullerton and becomes the second UCSB player forced to miss a match because of five yellows. The other is freshman Michael Tetteh.

• More on the Matadors
Wednesday's opponent, Cal State Northridge (6-5-4 overall, 2-1-3 in the Big West), battled the Gauchos to a 2-2 tie in the first meeting on Oct. 8. The Matadors are led by junior midfielder Sunghyun Kim, who has 12 points this season (four goals, four assists) and sophomore forward Camilo Rojas with 11 points (five goals, one assist). Senior goalie Kevin Guppy is one of the best in the conference. He has six shutouts - tied for the Big West lead - and his goals against average of 0.92 is third-best in the conference. Guppy averages 4 saves per game. The Matadors have played in four overtime games in their past five matches. Overall, the Gauchos are 14-13-5 vs. CSUN.

• Info on Irvine
UC Irvine enters the match ranked as high as No. 20 by two polls and are in the top-25 in four of the five national rankings. The Anteaters (8-1-6, 1-1-4) are led by senior midfielder Matt Murphy who has 21 points (eight goals and six assists) and sophomore forward Spencer Thompson with 17 points (six goals and five assists). Freshman goalie Andrew Fontein has 43 saves, a 0.95 goals against average and three shutouts. In the team's last meeting the Gauchos won 2-1 on Oct. 4 with goals from Nick Perera and Alfonso Motagalvan. Overall, UCSB is 30-11-3 vs. Irvine.

• Worth a Minton
Goalkeeper Kristopher Minton, who recorded his first career shutout in the win at Cal Poly, ranks fifth in the Big West with a 1.10 goals against average. His .741 save percentage is also fifth and Minton has allowed more than one goal in just two of the Gauchos' six conference games.