Nov. 29, 2006
Santa Barbara, Calif. - Three players from the 17th-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team have been named to National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Far West Region teams it was announced Wednesday. Junior defender Andy Iro and sophomore midfielder Eric Avila were selected to the first team, while senior forward Bryan Byrne was tabbed third team.
Iro has anchored a UCSB defense that has held opponents to just 21 goals in 23 matches thus far this season, good for a 0.91 goals per match average - the fifth-best in school history. The Gauchos kept opponents scoreless in five of six of their final regular season games and have allowed one goal or less in 10 of their last 12 contests. UCSB's 11 shutouts is fourth among all NCAA Division I squads this season. Iro, a native of Liverpool, England, is a two-time All-American and Big West Conference Defender of the Year and was named to the NSCAA All-Far West Second Team in 2005.
Avila, the 2005 Big West Freshman of the Year, is making his first appearance on the NSCAA All-Far West Region team. The 2006 All-Big West First Team selection from San Diego has come on strong over the past six weeks, scoring five of UCSB's 19 goals. Avila has netted four of his team-leading seven goals in the Gauchos' last seven matches, including one in a NCAA Second Round win over No. 1 SMU and another in a NCAA Third Round victory against Old Dominion. Avila has five assists for a team-high 19 points on the year. Three of his helpers have come during the postseason.
Byrne, another 2006 All-Big West First Team member, leads the Gauchos with nine assists. The co-captain from Ireland also has three goals on the year, the most recent coming in UCSB's win over San Diego State in the first round of the NCAA tourney. In 2005, Byrne was named to the NSCAA All-Far West Second Team.
Cal and Washington each had four all-region selections, while San Francisco, Santa Clara, and UCSB each garnered three. Cal, UCSB, and Washington were the only three squads with a pair of first teamers. Other Big West Conference teams with all-region players include Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, and UC Irvine.
The Gauchos (17-6-0) are heading to their second College Cup in the past three years and will take on Wake Forest (18-3-3) Fri., Dec. 1 at Robert R. Hermann Stadium in St. Louis, Mo. (5:30 p.m. PT). The first semifinal pits UCLA (13-5-4) against Virginia (17-3-1) at 3 p.m. PT. The national championship match takes place Sun., Dec. 3 at 12 p.m. PT and will be televised live by ESPN2.
2006 NSCAA ALL-FAR WEST REGION TEAMS
GK: Tally Hall, Senior, San Diego State
D: Andrew Boyens, Senior, New Mexico
D: Ty Harden, Senior, Washington
D: Andy Iro, Junior, UC Santa Barbara
D: Steve Purdy, Senior, Cal
MF: Eric Avila, Sophomore, UC Santa Barbara
MF: Eric Ebert, Senior, Cal
MF: Peter Lowry, Junior, Santa Clara
MF: Sal Zizzo, Sophomore, UCLA
F: Brad Evans, Senior, UC Irvine
F: Kevin Forrest, Junior, Washington
F: George Josten, Junior, Gonzaga
GK: Luis Robles, Senior, Portland
D: Bobby Burling, Senior, Loyola Marymount
D: Nick Cardenas, Freshman, San Diego State
D: Sean Franklin, Junior, Cal State Northridge
D: Rob Valentino, Junior, San Francisco
MF: Mike Farfan, Freshman, Cal State Fullerton
MF: Andrew Jacobson, Junior, Cal
MF: George John, Sophomore, Washington
F: Ely Allen, Junior, Washington
F: Javier Ayala-Hil, Junior, Cal
F: Robert Findley, Senior, Oregon State
GK: Geremy Uhl, Senior, San Francisco
D: Joey Mathot, Sophomore, Denver
D: Jamil Roberts, Junior, Santa Clara
D: Mike Zaher, Junior, UCLA
MF: Diego Barrera, Junior, Loyola Marymount
MF: Taylor Canel, Senior, Cal State Northridge
MF: Galen Thompson, Senior, Stanford
F: Brandon Barklage, Sophomore, New Mexico
F: Bryan Byrne, Senior, UC Santa Barbara
F: Aaron Chandler, Senior, San Francisco
F: Keith Devey, Senior, Santa Clara