November 18, 2009

UCSB Takes On Wofford in NCAA First Round on Thursday

Nov. 18, 2009

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• The Schedule
Thursday, November 19 2009, 7 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (15-4-2) vs. Wofford (12-2-3)
at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium
Game broadcast LIVE by KIST 1490 AM (streaming here)
Game available on Gametracker

• First Round Draw
UC Santa Barbara will host Wofford College in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament this Thursday at 7 p.m. at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. The pairing is the first-ever between the two teams and the winner will advance to the Second Round, where they will face No. 11 seeded San Diego, which received a First Round bye at 5 p.m.

• How To Get Your Tickets
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.

• On The Air
Thursday's men's soccer game will be broadcast live on AM 1490 KIST and available for free online via audio streaming, making UCSB the only school in the nation to broadcast men's soccer matches live on commercial radio. Fans from all over the world can hear the Gauchos' NCAA Tournament matches online by clicking here.

• Gauchos In The NCAA Tournament
UCSB is making its eighth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and has posted a 13-5-2 record in its previous seven tournaments. The Gauchos have twice advanced to the College Cup Final (2004 and 2006) and won the program's first national title in 2006. In six of their seven NCAA Tournament appearances, the Gauchos have won at least one game.

• For The Record
The Gauchos enter the postseason with a 15-4-2 overall record, marking the program's most wins in a season since 2006 (17-7-1). The program record for wins in a season was set in 2004, when the Gauchos recorded a 20-2-2 overall mark. UCSB has won 10 of its last 13 games, all by way of a shutout.

• Home Sweet Home
UCSB has posted a 9-2 record at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium this season, marking its most home wins since it tallied 11 in 2006. In NCAA Tournament games, the Gauchos own an 8-1 record on their home pitch and this marks the eighth straight season UCSB has hosted a NCAA Tournament game.

• Handsomely Rewarded
UCSB picked up a school record 10 All-Big West honors on Tuesday when the conference awards were announced including four major awards. Senior Martin Hedevag was named Defensive Player of the Year, junior Sam Hayden earned Goalkeeper of the Year, sophomore Danny Barrera was picked as Midfielder of the Year and freshman Machael David was named Freshman of the Year. Hedevag, Hayden and Barrera all earned First Team honors in addition to senior David Walker, junior Michael Boxall and sophomore Luis Silva. David earned Second Team All-Big West along with sophomore Michael Tetteh and freshman Michael Nonni. Sophomore Waid Ibrahim rounded out the Gauchos' selections with Honorable Mention accolades. Eight of UCSB's 10 all-conference honorees will return for the 2010 season.

• What You Should Know About Wofford
Wofford enters this week's game with a 12-2-3 overall record and clinched the Southern Conference regular season and conference tournament titles to receive an automatic berth into their first-ever NCAA Tournament. The Terriers' 12 wins set a program record for victories in a single season. Wofford is led by Wilson Hood's five goals, while Branson Hyatt is second on the team with seven points (two goals, three assists). The Terriers - who hail from Spartanburg, South Carolina - reached this year's NCAA Tournament after finishing last or tied for last in the Southern Conference in each of the past six seasons.

• NCAA Résumé
Senior David Walker is the lone member of the 2006 National Championship squad remaining on the Gaucho roster. The forward leads his teammates with the most NCAA Tournament experience, having played in nine total postseason games, including all six during the 2006 season. Senior Jonathan Zerah is second on the team with three tournament games under his belt. Of UCSB's usual starting lineup, four players will be making their first postseason appearance on Thursday: Sam Hayden, Michael Nonni, Waid Ibrahim and Machael David.

• East Meets West
While Thursday is the first meeting between the Gauchos and Wofford, UCSB has had great success against East Coast teams in the past 10 seasons. Since 1999, the Gauchos have posted a 16-5-3 overall record against opponents from the right coast and in NCAA Tournament games, they have tallied a 4-1-1 record.

• Working Overtime
During their 20 previous NCAA Tournament games, UCSB has had seven go into overtime and two of those decided in penalty kicks. Of the games decided in extra minutes, the Gauchos have posted a 2-3 record and their last two tournament ousters have been in double overtime (against Ohio State in 2007 and Cal in 2008). In games decided in penalty kicks, UCSB has gone 1-1. During the 2009 regular season, UCSB went undefeated in its four overtime games, posting a 2-0-2 record in extra minutes.

• Gauchos Win Sixth Big West Title
After completing the Big West regular season schedule with an 8-1-1 record, the Gauchos captured their sixth conference title since 2001 with 25 points. In all, UCSB's six regular season championships are the most in Big West history, surpassing former member Fresno State's five regular season crowns. The Gauchos are now tied for the third-most victories in a 10-game conference season in Big West history, while their .850 winning percentage in conference matches is also tied for third-best in Big West lore. The title gave UCSB the No. 1 seed into the Big West tournament, where it placed second after a 4-1 loss to UC Irvine in the championship game.

• UCSB Fans On Pace For National Record
A large part of the Gauchos' home field advantage is the UCSB faithful that show up each match and have put UCSB on course to break the modern-day men's soccer attendance record. The Gauchos are averaging 4,528 fans per game, and with at least one home match left, should top the NCAA record of 3,629 fans per game set by New Mexico in 2005. The unofficial record is held by Connecticut, which averaged 4,297 fans a game in 1982. UCSB has led the nation in average attendance the last two years, averaging 3,435 fans in 2007 and 3,444 in 2008.

• Living In A State Of Denial
The Gauchos now rank fourth in the country with their .670 shutout percentage. UCSB has allowed just 16 goals this season and just five in the last 13 games. The Gauchos own a 0.74 goals against average, which ranks 17th in the country. The school record for lowest opponent goals per match average was set in 2004 at 0.56. UCSB's 16 goals allowed is a testament to its phenomenal defensive turnaround since the 2008 season when the Gauchos allowed 39 goals.

• Offensive Behavior
While the Gaucho defense has been on fire, the UCSB offense is no slouch in comparison. The Gauchos rank 32nd nationally with their 1.76 goals per game average. UCSB ranks second in the Big West for goals (37) and points (114), behind UC Irvine. UCSB scored in all but two games this season: a 1-0 loss to Cal State Northridge (Oct. 18) and a 0-0 tie with Cal Poly (Nov. 4). The Gaucho offense is led by David Walker (7 goals, 4 assists), Michael Nonni (6 goals, 6 assists) and Danny Barrera (5 goals, 8 assists), who have each tallied 18 points this season. If Nonni were to finish the season with the team lead for points, he would be the first UCSB freshman to do so since Willum Thorsson tallied 16 points (five goals, six assists) to lead the 1984 Gauchos.

• A Tale Of Two Halves
Over the last five games, there has been a change in the Gauchos' scoring patterns. In 13 of the Gauchos' first 16 games this season, they scored at least one goal in the opening 45 minutes of play. In the past five contests, the Gauchos have been shut out in the first half. For the season however, the Gauchos' have distributed their goals fairly evenly among both halves with 17 being scored in the first half and 18 in the second.

• Hayden Sets New Standards
Goalkeeper Sam Hayden set a new UCSB record for single season shutouts last Wednesday and tied the Big West Conference record as the Gauchos posted a 1-0 victory over Cal State Northridge, marking his 14th shutout of the year. The previous UCSB record had been held by Dan Kennedy, who tallied 13 shutouts in 2004. Hayden is now tied with Harry Fields of UNLV for the conference record, which was originally set in 1984. The school and Big West record for total shutouts in a season is 15, set by the 2004 squad. Hayden also set a new school record for consecutive shutout minutes in a season after recording a total of 595:16 minutes without allowing a goal. He ranks 29th in the country with his 0.75 goals against average and 30th with his .824 saves percentage.

• Pulse On The Polls
UCSB has been ranked in all five national polls every week of the season and after being ranked in the top-five by every poll last week, the Gauchos have dropped in several due to Saturday's loss to UC Irvine. College Soccer News has UCSB in its highest position - No. 5 - just one spot down from last week. Soccer Times has dropped the Gauchos from fourth to 11th and there has been similar movement in the Soccer America poll (fourth to 12th). Top Drawer Soccer dropped the Gauchos the furthest, from No. 5 to No. 17. The NSCAA will not release a new poll until the end of the season; the Gauchos were ranked No. 4 nationally and No. 1 in the Far West in last week's poll.

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