UCSB to Host Denver in NCAA Tournament First Round

Nov. 15, 2010

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team will host Denver, which received an at-large berth, in the First Round of the 2010 NCAA Men's Soccer Championship on Thursday, Nov. 18 it was announced Monday afternoon as the 48-team bracket was released on ESPNU.

Tickets to the Gauchos' NCAA Tournament First Round game, which will be played at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium at 7 pm, can be purchased by calling (805) 893-UCSB, visiting the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or online by clicking here.

Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets online and print their ticket at home to skip lines at the ticket booth on game day. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth, high school and college students.

Denver was the runner-up in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, falling to eventual-champion Sacramento State, 3-1, in the conference tournament semifinal. The Pioneers won the MPSF regular season and have posted a 9-6-4 overall record this season. UCSB holds a 2-1 advantage in its series with Denver; the teams last met on Oct. 7, 2001 and Denver won, 1-0.

The winner will advance to play No. 6 seed Cal in the tournament's second round on Sunday. The other national seeds in the Gauchos' bracket include No. 3 Akron, No. 11 Connecticut and No. 14 Indiana.

"At this point, we are on the board," said head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "We have a home playoff game on Thursday and we'll take that and then go from there. We don't want to look past any one. Denver earned the right (to be in the tournament) and is one of the top-48 teams in the country. We are in the position now where we need to take that one next step and that is Thursday night."

UCSB was the lone Big West program to make the tournament's 48-team field marking the first season since 2006 that the conference will have just one team vying for the national title.

The Gauchos finished the 2010 regular season with a 13-4-3 overall record and have advanced to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big West Conference Championship with a 3-1 win over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.

In their previous eight NCAA Tournament appearances, the Gauchos have twice made the College Cup final, in 2004 and 2006. UCSB won the national championship in 2006.

UCSB has been paced offensively this season by sophomore Sam Garza - a transfer from Denver - who has posted a team-leading nine goals and 24 points (9 goals, 6 assists). Freshman David Opoku is second on the team with 17 points (6 goals, 5 assist), while juniors Luis Silva (6 goals, 4 assists) and Danny Barrera (4 goals, 7 assists) are also key contributors to a deep Gaucho offense. Senior goalkeeper Sam Hayden has posted a 10-4-3 record in goal with eight shutouts and a 0.72 goals against average.

Thursday's game will be broadcast KZSB AM 1290 and online here.

For the complete 2010 NCAA Men's Soccer Championship bracket and for more information on the tournament, click here.

UCSB is the proud host of the 2010 NCAA Men's College Cup, which will take place Dec. 10 and 12 at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. This marks the first time since the 2004 season that the Cup has been held on the West Coast. All-Session passes for the College Cup can be purchased by calling (805) 893-UCSB, visiting the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or buy online by clicking here.