Nov. 16, 2005
Irvine, Calif. - A school-record nine UC Santa Barbara men's soccer players earned All-Big West Conference honors it was announced yesterday by the conference office. Head coach Tim Vom Steeg was selected at the Big West's Coach of the Year for the second straight season. And midfielder Eric Avila was named Freshman of the Year, carrying the torch for last year's winner, defender Andy Iro, who was selected as this year's Defender of the Year.
Tying the total set forth in both the 2002 and 2003 seasons, this year's selection of nine players are the most in program history. With a conference-high six players garnering first team honors, UCSB has reached a new program milestone. Highlighted by sophomore Andy Iro's second consecutive Defender of the Year award, the preseason All-American is joined by linemate Pat Scott as the Gauchos' two repeat first team appearances. Iro and Scott anchored a backline that posted a conference low 16 goals against, playing against one of the toughest schedules in the nation. With Iro's second straight defensive player of the year award, a Gaucho has now been bestowed the honor four out of the five years it has been awarded.
Joining Iro and Scott on the first team is sophomore Hermann Trophy Candidate Tyler Rosenlund and senior Nate Boyden, both moving one-step up from last season's second team selections. Santa Barbara's second-year midfield duo produced a league-best +1.16 scoring margin. UCSB's two other first team honorees, senior forward Ivan Becerra and Avila, are first time All-Big West selections. Becerra had the early lead for the conference scoring title before sustaining a leg injury. Avila produced the best offensive campaign of any freshman in the Big West, as noted by his freshman of the year award. A Gaucho has been now been named freshman of the year three of the four years it has been awarded, with Avila joining Iro ('04) and Alan Keely ('03).
"Since the All-Big West teams are voted on by the coaches conferences and you cannot vote for your own players, to have some many players recognized at this level is an honor for the players individually and the program," said Vom Steeg. "This is testament to the success of our program and the type of players it has brought to Santa Barbara."
UCSB's three other all-conference award winners all received second team honors, with the awards being the first of their careers for all three. Posting a conference-low 0.80 goal against average overall on the season, junior Kyle Reynish was barely nipped for goalkeeper of the year, garnering the second team accolades after establishing an outstanding 0.67 GAA in conference-play. Joining Reynish is senior Bryan Byrne who was only player in the conference with at least five goals and five assists on the year. However, both players still have one more year of eligibility left to make it to the first team. And last, but certainly not least, senior defender Chris Hughes was also named to the second team having established himself as one of the best marking backs in the league, making nine of ten starts in conference action.
On the coaching side, Vom Steeg's repeat Coach of the Year honors was shared this season with conference champion Cal State Northridge's Terry Davila. This season Vom Steeg took a young, raw team and contended for the league falling just two points shy of first place with a 7-1-2 league, and 12-4-3 overall record. It was the 2004 NSCAA National Coach of the Year's second conference Coach of the Year award of his career as he will be looking for his 100th career victory this Saturday against San Diego State in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
The Matadors were second in the conference with four first team selections, and first with ten honorees overall.