Gauchos Host Cal Poly in Big West Tournament Game on Wednesday
Nov. 11, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. No. 19 UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal Poly (10-5-5, 5-2-3) at UCSB's Harder Stadium Tickets are available by calling (805) 893-UCSB or by clicking here. You can also visit the Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. or purchase tickets at Harder Stadium beginning at 4 p.m. Game broadcast on KCSB 91.9 FM and streaming online at kcsb.org Game available on Gametracker.
UC Santa Barbara will face a familiar foe in Cal Poly to open the Big West Tournament on Wednesday at Harder Stadium, the third meeting between the two teams this season. The Gauchos earned the No. 2 seed in the conference with 18 points, holding a tiebreaker over the Mustangs. It is the first time since the 2005 season that the Gauchos have faced a team three times. That year UCSB played Cal State Northridge three times, going 0-2-1 in the three matches. The Matadors knocked the Gauchos out of the NCAA Tournament in the second round.
After drawing 9,749 in last week's match against Cal Poly, UCSB can now lay claim to hosting three of the nation's all-time top-10 regular season crowds in NCAA history. UCSB is the only NCAA school with that distinction. Wednesday's mark stands as the fourth-largest attended game ever. The Gauchos have played in four of the top-10, including three of those games this season.
UCSB's RPI - released on Nov. 10 - is No. 9 in the nation, which is the highest mark among all Big West schools. The Gauchos had trailed UC Davis in the first two RPI polls released earlier this season, but the Aggies fell to 15 as the Gauchos rose from No. 14. Two teams the Gauchos have played - Indiana and Wake Forest - rank first and third, respectively, in the latest RPI rankings. Cal Poly's RPI is 54th in the country, up 14 spots from the last RPI release.
With his 13th goal this season in the win over Cal State Northridge and an assist in the 3-1 loss to UC Irvine, senior Chris Pontius continues to etch his name in the UCSB history books. The goal, which set a career-high, ties him for eighth all-time for goals in a season. That gives the forward 28 goals for his career, tying him for fifth all-time with current assistant coach Neil Jones' mark set between 2001-04. Pontius has 65 career points, which is seventh all-time in Gaucho history. The goal vs. the Matadors also was the fifth straight game Pontius has scored a goal, a personal best and tied for the second-longest run in UCSB history. Pontius has taken 93 shots this year, third-most by a Gaucho in a single season and his 173 career shots ties him for fifth all-time.
Goal-less in Santa Barbara
After two scoreless ties, UCSB has gone 304 minutes, 31 seconds without a goal, spanning back to a Nov. 1 loss to UC Irvine when Peter McGlynn scored just 5:29 into that game. That is the Gauchos' longest dry spell since the team was shut out in consecutive games from Sept. 23-27, 2006. To end that goal-less run, UCSB scored in double overtime on Sept. 30, 2006 vs. Michigan.
Points for Pontius
Pontius, a Hermann Trophy candidate, ranks 22nd nationally in goals per game (0.68) and 25th in the nation in points per game (1.58), both of those marks rank second in the Big West behind UC Davis' Quincy Amarikwa, whom he trails in goals, 15-13. Pontius leads the Big West in shots per game with 4.89 and is tied for third in game-winning goals with three. He has already surpassed his goal and points totals (11 and 24) from last season when he was named the Big West's Offensive Player of the Year.
Hard Luck at Harder
UCSB has lost three games at home this season, the most defeats at Harder Stadium since the 2000 season when they went 3-5-1. Overall the Gauchos are 75-19-11 at home under Tim Vom Steeg and despite the 4-3-1 mark there this year, UCSB holds a 29-7-7 home record since the start of the 2005 season.
With 35 goals through 19 games, UCSB is 34th in the nation in goals per game and tied for tops in the conference, averaging 1.84. Within the Big West, the Gauchos are tied with UC Irvine for the most goals, are second in points per game with 5.21 and the team's 29 assists are third in the league. UCSB's 320 shots are easily the most in the Big West.
Cal Poly enters Wednesday's match as the Big West's No. 3 seed, losing a tiebreaker with UCSB since the Gauchos defeated and tied the Mustangs this season. The Mustangs are led by goalie Eric Branagan-Franco, who ranks first in the Big West with a 0.84 goals against average and .829 save percentage, while tallying a league-best eight shutouts. Branagan-Franco made 10 saves in the Oct. 17 game vs. UCSB, tied for the most by an opposing goalkeeper this season. Offensively, sophomore forward David Zamora leads Cal Poly with 16 points and senior midfielder Julian Alvarez has chipped in 14. Sophomore F/MF Kyle Montgomery has dished out nine assists, second in the Big West. Overall, the Gauchos are 39-13-3 vs. the Mustangs.
Otii's O-For Over
It had been a long time coming when Bongomin Otii scored his first goal this season during the victory over CSUN. The Denver, Colo. native scored on a breakaway for a 2-1 advantage, his first goal since Oct. 14, 2006. A 2006 Second Team All-Big West selection, Otii remains the only player in school history to score five goals in his first five games, which he did in 2006.