Nov. 26, 2002
Overall Record: 18-2-1
Bursting Onto The Scene
In what College Soccer News labeled as "what just might be the best first round match-up of the tourney," UCSB downed the University San Diego 2-0 in front of over 3,400 fans. The Gauchos made their NCAA College Cup debut in outstanding fashion, posting their fourth consecutive and 10th overall shutout of the season behind a steller performance by sophomore keeper Danny Kennedy who had seven saves in the match. Forward Rob Friend and midfielder David McGill got Santa Barbara on the board in the game's sixth minute with what proved to be the game-winner. Matt Bly provided the insurance goal, finishing off a Brandon Meeks pass in the 88th minute to make the score 2-0 Gauchos and move Santa Barbara into the second round. The UCSB defense held WCC Player of the Year Ryan Coiner to just one shot on the night, giving up 11 shots to the Toreros as a team.
On A Roll
Santa Barbara has put together a seven-game win streak since its loss to then top-ranked Indiana, coming within one win of matching its eight game win streak to start the season. In the last seven games, the Gauchos have tallied 23 goals while giving up just three to the opposition thanks to a current streak of four consecutive shutouts, and a total of five blankings in the last seven games. UCSB has not allowed a goal in the its last 392:22 minutes, scoring 14 unanswered goals heading into the second round of the tournament. This week's College Soccer News goalkeeper of the week, Kennedy has been perfect allowing no goals in his last 335:22 minutes of play. Drew McAthy and Rob Friend have led the offensive attack the last seven matches, netting six goals apiece. Friend now has goals in each of the last four games. David McGill has done the most damage in the midfield, assisting on eight goals during the current win streak. Memo Arzate is second on the team with six assists in the last seven games. But don't be fooled. Eight different Gauchos have found the back of the net during this span, five of whom (McAthy, Friend, Arzate, Matt Bly and Gene Deering) have done so on more than one occasion. Of the seven games, McAthy, a first team all-conference selection, has scored the game-winner in four.
Perfection What can be said about UCSB's defense in its last four matches other than perfection. Led by team captain and All-Big West First Teamer Dan Young in the middle, the Gauchos have now posted four consecutive shutouts, having not allowed a goal in their last 392:22 minutes of play. Accompanying Young and Kennedy are defenders Alan Keely, Tony Lochhead and Jon Apilado, and midfielders Darren Doi and Nate Boyden, who have put up an almost impermiable wall around the UCSB penalty box. Over the course of the last four matches Santa Barbara has allowed the opposition just 41 shots on goal and average of 10.3 per game. The Gaucho offense on the other hand has averaged 16 shots per game in the last four matches for a total of 64. And not to be left out of the mix is freshman goalkeeper Kyle Reynish who combined with Kennedy on the first two shutouts, making four saves in 57 minutes of play. Kennedy now has six shutouts this season, running his career total to 13 to put him fifth all-time at UCSB and seventh all-time in Big West Conference history.
Nine Gauchos Named All-Big West
It was no surprise when the Big West All-Conference Teams were announced that the Gauchos would comprise a large portion of the selections, but to have nine of the starting 11 recognized was a surprise. Senior forward Rob Friend was selected as the conference's Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, earning first team honors for the second time. Freshman defender Alan Keely was named to the first team as well, garnering the Big West's Freshman of the Year award. Joining Friend and Keely on the first team were Drew McAthy, Memo Arzate and Dan Young. Santa Barbara's Second Team All-Big West selection's were Tony Lochhead, David McGill and Danny Kennedy, while Matt Kubota was an honorable mention.
Goods On The Golden Bears
This is the ninth overall appearance for the Bears in the NCAA Tournament and their second consecutive berth. Cal enters Wednesday's matchup 0-8 in the postseason, looking for their first ever NCAA Tournament victory. The Bears were one of 16 teams to receive a first round bye and one of four Pac-10 squads to make the 48-team tournament. Senior goalkeeper Josh Saunders was named the 2002 Pac-10 Player of the Year after leading the Pac-10 in shutouts (10) and is ranked 14th in the NCAA and third in the conference in goals against average. Nine Bears were named to the Pac-10 All-Conference team. Head Coach Kevin Grimes was named Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year. Eight of Cal's games this season have been against Top 20 teams, compiling a 5-2-1 mark against those foes. The Bears have outscored its ranked opponents 12 goals to five.
Best In History
It is safe to say that the 2002 UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team is if not the best, one of the best teams in school history, winning its second consecutive Big West Conference title and making the NCAA tournament for the first time in the 37-year history of the program. This year's team set numerous school records, starting with their 17 regular season wins. Santa Barbara's offensive onslaught, which has been one of the NCAA's top-10 all season, also set the UCSB record with 66 goals, surpassing the previous mark by 13. Currently the fourth-highest scoring team in the nation averaging 3.14 goals per game, UCSB boasts some impressive defensive numbers as well, ranking 17th in the nation with a 0.48% shutout percentage. Going undefeated in conference with a 9-0-1 record, the Gauchos led the Big West in every statistical catagory except saves at the conclusion of the regular season.
Winner To Face UCLA Or LMU
Depending on what happens in Westwood on Wednesday, the winner of UCSB's second round match with Cal will go on to face either UCLA or Loyola Marymount in the round of 16. If Santa Barbara defeats Cal there is a probability that they could host a third round NCAA College Cup game. Since UCLA is a seeded team they will automatically host if they win, if LMU wins there is a likelihood that Harder Stadium will once again host an NCAA game.