November 16, 2009

UCSB Will Host Wofford in First Round of NCAA Tournament

Nov. 16, 2009

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team will host Wofford, the Southern Conference Champions, in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament it was announced Monday afternoon as the 48-team bracket was announced on ESPNews. The Gauchos will host the Terriers at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.

Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets to Thursday's match in advance to avoid long lines at Harder Stadium. Please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or click here to buy now and print at home.

Tickets are $10 for adults and seniors and $5 for youth and students

Wofford, which is located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, enters the tournament with a 12-2-3 overall record and received an automatic berth into the tournament field after defeating Elon, 2-1, in the Southern Conference Tournament on Sunday. Thursday's match-up will be the first-ever between the two programs.

The winner of Thursday's game will play at 11th-seeded University of San Diego on Sunday at 5 p.m.

"For me, you take any game you get. I am actually ok with it," head coach Tim Vom Steeg said. "I think our hardest games (in past tournaments) have been against West Coast teams. I was thinking we were going to be playing Loyola Marymount or San Diego State, and that would have been a nightmare for a First Round game. I am very happy with what we got."

The Big West received two bids into the tournament, including UCSB's. UC Irvine, which received the conference's automatic berth after Saturday's 4-1 win over the Gauchos in the league tournament final, has been seeded 16th and will play the winner between Stanford and St. Mary's in the Second Round on Sunday.

The Gauchos finished the 2009 regular season with a 15-4-2 overall record, marking the most wins in a season since 2006 when UCSB finished with a 17-7-1 record after winning the program's first national title.

In their previous seven NCAA Tournament appearances, the Gauchos have twice made the College Cup final, in 2004 and 2006.

"I say it again and again, at this point of the year, you are always measured from what happens from this point forward and every game takes on a life of its own," said Vom Steeg. "I like the fact that unlike last year, we are healthier. I think there is a little bit of an edge to our game because we are disappointed about what happened Saturday and we thought we could have played better. We have a chance to play one more game at least and then take it from there."

This season, senior David Walker, freshman Michael Nonni and sophomore Danny Barrera, who have each tallied 18 points, lead the Gauchos offensively. Walker has posted a team-best seven goals while Barrera has dished out eight assists. In goal, junior keeper Sam Hayden has posted a school-record 14 shutouts and has a goals against average of 0.76.

For those unable to attend Thursday's game, you can listen to all the action as it is broadcast live on KIST 1490 AM and also streamed live online here.

For the complete 2009 NCAA Men's Soccer College Cup bracket and information on the tournament, click here.

The 2009 College Cup will be held in Cary, North Carolina. The semifinals will be played on Friday, Dec. 11 and the championship game will be played on Saturday, Dec. 12.

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