The Record: Overall 15-4-1 Big West 7-3-0
2003 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship Second Round
Wednesday, November 26th
No. 11 Seed UC Santa Barbara
Univeristy of California
7:00 p.m. at UCSB's Harder Stadium
That Sour Taste
When the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team began their 2003 season, there was one thing that nagged at the team from their record-setting 2002 campaign, the 2-1 loss to the University of California. The stage for the rematch could not be set any better for this Wednesday's NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship Second Round match between the Gauchos and Golden Bears. Last season UCSB had to travel to Berkeley to face the Golden Bears on their home turf, where, after having two goals disallowed, the Gauchos saw their dream season come to an end by a one-goal margin. In the 2002 meeting, UCSB was somewhat of a newcomer on the national scene, taking part in tits first ever NCAA Tournament, and Cal was participating it in its ninth. This year it is a bit different. Not only have the Gauchos made a name for themselves around the nation, recording the 11th best record in Division I and receiving a No. 11 seed in the tourney. This time it is the Golden Bears who are forced to travel, right into UCSB's very own Harder Stadium, a place that has not been very kind to visiting teams. The Gauchos are 26-4-3 at home over the past three seasons, and1-0 in NCAA Tournament action after shutting out San Diego 2-0 in last year's first round. Cal earned the berth into the second round by defeating San Jose State in the first round 2-0 last weekend in Berkeley. This winner of match will go on to face either St. John's, the No. 5 seed in the tourney, in New York, or UConn back here in California.
The Best Two-Year Twosome Ever in the Big West
It isn't very often that you can claim something to be the best ever, but playmaker Memo Arzate and midfielder David McGill have left little doubt as to just how good they are. Arzate, this year's Big West Co-Offensive Player of the Year and two-time first team all-conference honoree, is the Big West's all-time assists king. Currently with 35, the senior from Hawaiian Gardens broke the previous mark of 31, set over a four-year span, in under two seasons. Named Second Team All-Far West last year after setting both the UCSB and Big West single season assist record with 18, Arzate needs just one more this season to tie his record setting 2002 performance. One of this year's team co-captians, McGill has put together two of the best back-to-back seasons ever by a Gaucho midfielder. Second only to Arzate, the Dubliner has amassed 22 assists in his two seasons at UCSB, sixth all-time in Big West history, and the second most ever by a two year player. After finishing second in the nation last year averaging 0.86 assists per game, Arzate is currently ahead of last year's mark, leading the nation at 0.89 assists per game. And McGill, who finished sixth in the nation in 2002, is just one assist shy of breaking into the nation's top-25 while playing a more defensive role since the start of conference play. No matter how you put it the tandem of Memo and McGill is one of the best you will ever see in Big West men's soccer.
Gauchos Go Golden
Memo and McGill do it again...with a little help from Gene Deering. In the Gauchos' regular season finale at UC Irvine the game went scoreless into the waning minutes of the second and final overtime period, leading to the thought that game would result in a tie, snapping UCSB's win streak heading into postseason play. But with just over seven minutes remaining, as has been the case time and time again in their two seasons together as Gauchos, senior midfielders David McGill and Memo Arzate found a way to string together a couple of passes to set-up a game-winning goal. Junior defender, now midfielder, Tony Lochhead started to play by crossing the ball to McGill after he had carried up the left sideline. McGill collected the ball and one-timed a pass inside the box to Arzate. Then holding off his defender, Arzate slipped a pass to Gene Deering on the right-side touchline. Deering, with some spectacular ball control thwarted two defenders to rifle a ball into the box, banking in the golden goal off of a UCI defender. The goal, which was Deering's second of the season and his fifth career game-winner, was without a doubt one of UCSB's biggest during the 2003 regular season.
Not in my Box
Junior goalkeeper Dan Kennedy has returned to his unfriendly ways, minding the UCSB penalty box. In his three seasons as a Gaucho, Kennedy has continued to establish himself as one of the best collegiate goalkeepers in the nation. Currently sporting an outstanding 0.97 career goals against average, the Yorba Linda native has every season with a GAA below 1.00. Now with 20 complete game shutouts to his credit, Kennedy stands alone in third in both the Big West and UCSB record books. Having appeared in more matches in goal, 59, than any other previous Gaucho keeper, Kennedy has posted to most wins in school history with 41 in his three seasons. Ninth in Big West career saves with 197, Kennedy tends to be more proactive than reactive with goalkeeping, so his save numbers are not as high as some others. But if there were a statistic for picking off crosses and passes that come into the box, Kennedy would without a doubt be amongst the tops in the nation. And his reactive skills ain't bad either. In the Gauchos' 1-0 double overtime win at UC Irvine, Kennedy came up with two point blank diving saves the squelch the Anteaters' offensive attacks and match his career-high with his seven shutout of the season.
He's Smart, and he Scores
As if his on-field accomplishments this season have not been enough, senior forward Neil Jones was named Third Team Academic All-American this past week. Jones, who was joined on the region's academic first team by teammate Tony Lochhead, became the first men's soccer player in UCSB history to receive the honor. In the classroom, the senior from Auckland, New Zealand is slated to receive a BA in Geography after just three years at UC Santa Barbara. Jones was just one of four players selected from the west coast to one of the three teams.
Goods on the Golden Bears
Cal enters Wednesday night's match boasting an 11-8-2 overall record after finishing tied for third in the Pac-10 with a 5-4-1 conference record. The Golden Bears are led offensively by Carl Acosta's nine goals and three assists that result in a team-leading 21 total points. Next to Acosta, only two other players have double-figure point totals. Mike Munoz and Kyle Navaro each sport ten points off of three goals and four assists. Having outscored their opponents 27-23 on the year, Cal has eight different players who have scored multiple goals on the season, but only Acosta, Munoz, Navaro, and Yohei Fukuda have scored more than two, and Acosta is the only player with more than three. Mike Oseguera has seen a majority of the time in net for the Golden Bears, posting an impressive 0.90 goals against average thanks in large part to his seven shutouts on the season. It is putting balls in the back of the net where Cal has struggled to most this season, despite rattling off 287 shots on the season, the Golden Bears are only shooting at a .094 clip. The Gauchos this season have held opponents to a .088 shot percentage, while shooting .115 themselves.
Nine Gauchos Make All-Big West
For the second consecutive season, the UCSB men's soccer team had nine players named All-Conference by the Big West. Senior midfielder Memo Arzate was named the conference's Co-Offensive Player of the Year, marking the third straight year that a Gaucho has received the award. And junior goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was recognized as the Big West Goalkeeper of the Year for the time in his career. In addition to Arzate and Kennedy making First Team All-Big West, junior forward Drew McAthy, senior midfielder David McGill, and junior defender Tony Lochhead also received the conference's high honors for a total of five first teamers, the most of any school. Santa Barbara also led all of the conference schools with the total number of players selected with nine; junior forward Neil Jones, senior midfielder Matt Kubota, and junior defender Jon Apilado all received second team honors, while senior defender Darren Doi was named Honorable Mention. This year's honors marked the third straight season that juniors Kennedy, Lochhead and McAthy have been recognized, and the second time that McAthy has been named to the first team. McGill and Arzate have now earned all-conference honors for both of their two seasons as a Gaucho. The first team recognition is Arzate's second and McGill's first. Senior Matt Kubota made the jump to the second team after being named Honorable Mention as a junior, and juniors Jones and Apilado cracked the all-conference teams for the first time in their careers. And Doi's honorable mention accolades mark his first in his four seasons as a Gaucho.
UCSB Coahes Honored
With a fifth regular season under his belt entering this week's match head coach Tim Vom Steeg is now officially one of the 50 winningest coaches in the 44-year history of Division I men's soccer. Having met the minimum five-season minimum when he coached his 100th career match in the Gauchos' regular season finale at UC Irvine last weekend, Vom Steeg's winning percentage of .680 now qualifies as the 37th best mark all-time. UCSB has gone 65-29-6 with Vom Steeg at the helm, making him the 16th winningest active coach in Division I right now. A major role in Vom Steeg's success has been a result of hiring assistant coach Leo Chappel before the 2001 season. In each of his three seasons as the Gauchos' second-in-command Chappel has been recognized by College Soccer News as one of the top assistants in NCAA men's soccer, most recently receiving the award this past week. Since joining the UCSB staff, Santa Barbara has gone a combined 44-12-5, including a 26-4-3 mark in games played at home in Harder Stadium. In the past three seasons, Vom Steeg, Chappel, and goalkeeper coach Ryan Sparre, have guide the Gauchos to two Big West Conference Championships and two NCAA Tournaments. In the tenure of Chappel and Vom Steeg they have coached three All-Americans (Memo Arzate, Rob Friend, Alan Keely), five conference players of the year (Rob Friend-2, Memo Arzate, Reuben Bates, Dan Kennedy), and three NSCAA All-Far West Region honorees (Rob Friend, Memo Arzate, Drew McAthy). When the NCAA Tournament pairings were announced on Monday, November 17th, the Gauchos achieved another first in receiving first round bye and No. 11 seeding the 48-team field.