Top-Ranked Gauchos Head to Carson for First Ever College Cup
This Week's Schedule
NCAA Division I Men's College Cup
Home Depot Center Carson, Calif.
Thursday, December 9
1:30 - 2:00 Stadium walk-thru
2:30 - 4:00 Practice (Open)
4:15 - 4:45 Press Conference
Friday, December 10
No. 1 UC Santa Barbara (20-2-1) vs. Duke (18-5-0)
Kickoff 7:30 p.m.
Taped delayed on ESPN2 for Saturday, December 11 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 11
1:30 - 2:00 Press Conference
2:15 - 3:15 Practice (Closed)
Sunday, December 12
NCAA Championship Finals
Kickoff 1:00 p.m.
Televised live on ESPN2
Radio: In addition to the radio coverage supplied by the NCAA and ESPN2's TV coverage, UCSB's student radio station, KCSB, will be broadcasting both of the Gaucho matches should they make the finals. You can listen to KCSB's broadcast by tuning into 91.9 FM in Santa Barbara, or logging onto www.kcsb.org.
UC Santa Barbara heads to Carson for this weekend's NCAA Division I College Cup with a head of steam and a top national ranking. Ranked No. 1 in the nation in the final regular season NSCAA/adidas coaches' poll, the Gauchos have won nine straight behind a superb backline and a multi-dimensional offense, improving them to 20-2-1 on the year. Advancing past the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history and rolling through its Elite 8 match last weekend to get to this weekend's College Cup, UCSB has put together a 5-2-0 combined NCAA tournament record. Since getting snubbed in 2001 after winning its first of three Big West Conference Championships in the last four years, the Gauchos have now appeared in three straight NCAA Tourneys. Starting with a 2-0 win in 2002 at home against San Diego in its first ever tournament game, UCSB has outscored its opponents by a 14-7 margin in NCAA Tourney action.
UCSB vs. the ACC
The Gauchos hold a 2-1 all-time record against teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference, with their two victories coming just last season. In September of 2003 UCSB traveled to Durham, N.C., and won the Duke/adidas Soccer Classic by shutting out North Carolina State 4-0 on a neutral field before defeating the host Blue Devils 2-1, Drew McAthy and Neil Jones each netted a goal for UCSB in that game. Santa Barbara's only other showdown with an ACC school occurred way back in 1985, when the Gauchos, featuring a freshman defender named Tim Vom Steeg, played at then-No. 1 Virginia and dropped a 2-0 decision.
UCSB received its first-ever No. 1 national ranking after it snapped then top-ranked Indiana's 23-game unbeaten streak, earning the No. 1 spot in the Soccer America poll in week four. The Gauchos and Hoosiers battled for nearly the maximum 110 minutes until freshman defender Andy Iro netted his first career collegiate goal in the 105th minute. UCSB's Tony Lochhead received a red card with just under ten minutes left in regulation to put Santa Barbara a man down, but IU's Danny O'Rourke even the sides in the second minute of the second overtime with a red card of his own. Iro was able to find the back of the net thanks to Corey Wood who headed Nate Boyden's set piece back into the box after it had been cleared out by the Hoosier defense.
Nice To Meet You
If the Gauchos go on to advance to Sunday's Finals and face Maryland it will be the first ever meeting between the two squads, but being new is nothing new to UCSB. This season Santa Barbara has faced six opponents for the first time in program history, UConn, Seton Hall, Columbia, UWM, UNCG, and VCU, and after each game UCSB has walked away with a W, including three in this year's NCAA Tourney.
Hey Is That UCSB On TV
Two greats days of college soccer gets turned into three great days of college soccer thanks to ESPN. Friday's opening game between Indiana and Maryland at 5:00 p.m. PST will air on ESPN2 on Saturday, December 11th at 9:00 a.m. PST. UCSB's semifinal match with Duke, scheduled to start 46 minutes following the conclusion of the IU-Maryland match at approximately 7:30 p.m., will be rebroadcast on ESPN2 at 8:00 p.m. PST, also on Saturday, December 11th. Sunday's NCAA Championship match will be aired live at 1:00 p.m. PST, also on ESPN2. Rob Stone will be handling the play-by-play duties, Eric Wynalda will be doing the color commentary, and Beth Mowins will be on the sideline for all three matches.
Semi-Home Field Advantage
Unlike the rest of the team's competing for the title of 2004 NCAA Division I National Champions this weekend, top-ranked UC Santa Barbara will be traveling to the Home Depot Center solely by way of bus. Just a short two-hour drive down the coast to Carson, the Home Depot Center gives UCSB more of a home field advantage than most would think. The Gauchos are in fact quite familiar with the grounds in Carson, having scrimmaged its inhabitants, Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, there last spring. Returning the favor a month later, UCSB hosted the Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes for a preseason exhibition match in Harder Stadium in June. But the home pitch advantage does not end with last year's scrimmage. Gaucho goalkeeper Dan Kennedy has spent the last two summers minding the net of the Premier Development League's Orange County Blue Star, and their home field just happens to be the HDC. Joining Kennedy with the Blue Star over the past two seasons were fellow First Team All-Far West region and four-time All-Big West honorees Drew McAthy and Tony Lochhead. Lochhead spent last summer with the Blue Star and McAthy did so two years ago.
Best In The Nation
Playing in its first ever NCAA College Cup this weekend, top-ranked UC Santa Barbara became the winningest team in program history two weeks ago in the Sweet 16 when it bumped its win total to 19. Now with 20 after its win over VCU last weekend, UCSB has put up more wins this season than any other team in Division I. Improving its overall record to 20-2-1 on the season, this year's squad, still with the opportunity to put up two more wins, is already two wins better than the 2002 squad that finished the 18-3-1. Currently sporting a .891 won-loss-tied percentage, the second highest mark in the nation with a chance to tie the season high .900 this weekend, the Gauchos have posted 16-plus wins in each of the last three seasons for a combined three-year record of 54-10-3 entering this weekend's College Cup.
Exceeding all attendance expectations, a school-record 11,214 fans packed UCSB's Harder Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 4 for the Gauchos' 4-1 victory over Virginia Commonwealth in the NCAA Quarterfinals. In addition to being the largest non-football crowd in UCSB annals, it marked the most widely-attended early round NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Tournament game, i.e. prior to the College Cup. Overall, Saturday's boisterous crowd of 11,214 ranks 26th all-time in Division I men's soccer history. No Big West Conference school has hosted more fans for an athletic event since 1999.
They Only Had 10 Men
UCSB's win at UNC Greensboro to advance to its first-ever Elite Eight was not only amazing because they shutout the nation's then top-ranked offense, upsetting the 8th-seeded Spartans on their own turf, but the Gauchos did so with only ten men. Well with only ten men for all but six minutes. I am not sure if the NCAA keeps and official stat of this nature, but I would venture to guess that UCSB's surviving 88 minutes of playing short-handed to go on and win an NCAA Tournament match is somewhere near the top all-time. Overall this season the Gauchos have posted a 1-1-1 record in games that they finished playing a man down, and if you include UCSB's 1-0 overtime win over then top-ranked Indiana where the game ended with ten men on both sides, it has posted a 2-1-1 record in games that they have played a portion of the match short-handed.
The Unusual Suspects
It's impossible to ignore the incongruence when comparing the Gauchos' top scorers throughout the 2004 season to those who have paced UCSB offensively in the NCAA Tournament. While Santa Barbara's five leading goal scorers during the regular season have combined to hit paydirt just once in the Big Dance, Andy Iro has found the back of the net twice by himself to boost his total to four on the year. The freshman is Santa Barbara's leading point scorer during the tourney along with fellow defender Tony Lochhead, whose four postseason assists give him eight in 2004, tying for tops on the team. Another defender who has gotten offensive during the NCAA's is junior defender Pat Scott, as his golden goal to beat Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the second round was the first score of his collegiate career. Finally, a trio of Gauchos who had rather quiet regular seasons, senior forward Matt Bly, junior midfielder Bryan Byrne and freshman forward Andrew Proctor, each burned the net during the Big Dance to double their season totals to two goals apiece. The scores by Bly and Byrne were game winners to send UNC Greensboro and Virginia Commonwealth, respectively, down in defeat.
A Monumental Two Weeks
In addition to UCSB's first ever trip to the College Cup this weekend, the Gauchos began their recent stretch of program firsts when they overcame 88 minutes of man down play to down UNCG two weeks ago in the Sweet 16. First and foremost top-ranked UCSB advanced past the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history, improving upon last season's finish in the Sweet 16 at St. John's. And secondly, Santa Barbara's win in Greensboro marked the first time that it won a tournament match as the visiting team. And although the past two week's have been monumental in themselves, the Gauchos are not satisfied just with moving on farther than they ever have before, there is a ring to be won on December 12th that they have been eyeing all season.
Saving It For The Dance
It was only fitting that junior defender Pat Scott netted UCSB's golden goal against UWM on the NCAA Tournament stage, rewarding his outstanding defensive effort over the course of the last two months. In addition to it being Scott's first career goal, it also marked the second year in a row that a defender scored the game-winning goal in UCSB's NCAA Tournament-opening game, Jeff Murphy netted the game-winner last season at home against Cal in the second round. All in all, of Santa Barbara's 14 goals scored in tourney play, five have been scored by defenders, and three others have been assisted by players out of the back.
The Chips Get Bigger
UC Santa Barbara headed into this year's NCAA Tournament, its third consecutive, ranked No. 1 in the nation in both the NSCAA/adidas coaches' poll and the College Soccer News media poll. After starting the season ranked 15th in the NSCAA Preseason Poll, the Gauchos used a 17-2-1 overall record to propel them into the No. 1 spot to end the regular season, spending a total of five weeks, including the final two, with the billing as the nation's top team. Including the other three major national polls, UCSB was tabbed as the No. 1 squad by at least one of them in week's four, five, six, seven, ten, and now eleven. The only other team the achieve the No. 1 spot in the NSCAA poll over the final seven weeks of the regular season, UNC Greensboro, the team the Gauchos downed 1-0 with only ten men in the Sweet 16.
How The Seed Was Planted
The Gauchos entered the 2004 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championships with a school record No. 9 seeding and a first round bye. Amidst some questioning, UCSB improved upon last season's seeding on No. 11, the program's first-ever in just its second trip to the show. Santa Barbara posted a 4-1-1 overall record in the regular season against teams in this year's championships, including a 1-0 overtime victory on the road over College Cup participant and No. 2 seed Indiana, ending the defending National Champions' streak of 23 games without having suffered a loss. UCSB also shutout tournament participants Seton Hall and UConn in week two, as well as UNC Greensboro two weeks ago in the Sweet 16.
For the first time in program history, UCSB had three players garner First Team All-Far West Region accolades from the National Collegiate Soccer Coaches' Association of America. Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, defender Tony Lochhead and forward Drew McAthy, all seniors, each earned a spot in this elite group for the first time in their careers and now become candidates for NSCAA All-America recognition. The only other season in which Santa Barbara enjoyed a trio of All-Region selections was 2002, when McAthy was a second team choice, Rob Friend garnered first team acclaim and Memo Arzate rounded things out on the third team. UCSB's three first-teamers this year are more than any other school in the Far West, which includes programs from the Big West, Pacific-10 and West Coast Conferences as well as the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
Tops In The Nation Once Again
Assistant Coach Leo Chappel was once again recognized as one of the top assistant coaches in NCAA Division I Men's Soccer. In each of his four seasons with the Gauchos, over which they have compiled a 65-15-6 overall record, Chappel has earned the honor from College Soccer News. And prior to arriving at UCSB, he was given the recognition by CSN twice in his three years as an assistant at Charlotte. The Gaucho soccer program has enjoyed much of its success thanks to the efforts of head coach Tim Vom Steeg and Chappel. In is four years as the assistant coach UCSB has won three Big West Conference Championships, made three trips to the NCAA Tournament, had two players, and will most likely have five players named All-American, and will be making its first ever showing in the College Cup this weekend.
Since losing their only two games of the season back-to-back after starting the year out at a school record 11-0-1, the Gauchos have won nine straight to establish the longest active winning streak in the nation. With four of those coming against teams that were ranked nationally at the time, and six coming by way of shutout, defense has been Santa Barbara's key to success riding into and through the tournament. Only once over the course of their nine-game winning streak has an opponent registered a double-digit shot total. But what is more indicative of how UCSB is currently playing is that only twice in the last nine matches has it allowed more than two shots on goal, limiting its opponent to an average of just 1.78 shots on goal and 6.44 overall. On the flip side the Gaucho offense has averaged 6.33 shots on goal, and 14.44 overall on its current streak. And proving that those performances have not come against "patty-cake" offenses, UCSB limited UWM in its second round match to one goal, four shots on goal, and seven shots overall. Entering the second round match the Panthers had been averaging 2.14 goals, 6.7 shots on goal, and 14.5 shots overall per contest. Two weeks ago the Gauchos shutout the nation's then top-ranked offense in UNC Greensboro, holding the Spartans scoreless and limiting them to just five shots overall and two on frame, all while playing with only ten men. UNCG had been netting on average 2.60 goals per contest off of 14.5 shots per game, 8.1 per match on frame.
The Stuff That Wins Championships
The UCSB men's soccer team has seen many a record fall this season, but the one that stands out the most is its nation's best 14 shutouts. Averaging 0.61 per contest, third in Division I, this year's defensive unit of Tony Lochhead, Andy Iro, Nate Boyden, Pat Scott, and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, having proven to be the stingiest in Gaucho history. Currently sporting a combined 0.54 goals against average when you mix in Kyle Reynish's shutout, the fourth lowest in nation, UCSB's stellar defense gave up just 11 goals in 20 regular season contests to set yet another school record for goals allowed in a season. A true team effort, the group has limited the opposition to single-digit shot totals in 12 matches, and four or less in four. And when their opponents do manage to get off a shot very rarely is it on frame, as in eleven contests this season they have limited the opposition to three shots on goal or less, twice not allowing a single shot on frame. In fact, at one point this season UCSB's defense went 276 consecutive minutes without giving up a single shot on goal. But when their number is called, Kennedy and Reynish have combined to put up an outstanding .847 save percentage.
Attacking On All Fronts
Senior forwards Drew McAthy and Neil Jones have made up for a bulk of the Santa Barbara scoring, 65 of its 153 points, the remaining 88 have been dispersed amongst 17 other players, leaving opponents wondering where the next attack will start from. Of the 20 different players to take to the pitch for UCSB this season, 19 have tallied at least one point, 16 at least two, half the team has racked up at least four, and eight have put up a minimum of eight points. At the top, junior forward Jonathan Davis, who netted his fifth goal of the season against UWM in the second round, and sophomore forward Tino Nuñez, join McAthy and Jones with double-digit goal totals. Of those four, the Gauchos' three leading goal scorers, McAthy, Jones, and Davis, are all shooting .192 or better after 23 games. Jones and defender Tony Lochhead pace the Gaucho attack with eight assists, including Jones' on the game-winner against UWM and Lochhead's four this tourney, while McAthy is third on the team with seven assists.
Apparently the UCSB men's soccer team just likes to make its games exciting for its fans, that or it wants to test all of their blood pressures. Three of the Gauchos' last four matches have gone into overtime, including two of their do-or-die NCAA Tournament games. However, in those two tournament games that have gone into extra-time UCSB has dominated its opposition, leaving fans to wonder not if they are going to win, but more when are they going to win. Against Wisconsin-Milwaukee the Gauchos outshot the Panthers 19-to-7, and at UNC Greensboro, despite playing with just ten men since the six-minute mark, UCSB outshot the nation's top-rated offense 10-to-5. During the regular season Santa Barbara went a combined 4-0-1 record in overtime matches for an overall mark of 6-0-1 in extra time. Senior Matt Bly performed the latest of the Gaucho heroics netting the golden goal for his second tally of the season against UNCG, but it is senior forward Neil Jones leads the team with two golden goals (UC Davis, @ UC Irvine). Bly, sophomore forward Tino Nuñez, and defenders Andy Iro and Pat Scott have each netted one golden goal apiece.
The two staples of UCSB's stout defense over the last four years, defender Tony Lochhead and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, have both been selected to participate in next month's MLS Player Combine held at the Home Depot Center from January 8th through the 11th. Lochhead and Kennedy join former Gaucho and current Portland Timber Memo Arzate, who made a stellar showing last season at the event, as the only three players in program history to do participate in the collegiate player showcase.
Back Where It Belongs
It didn't come until the final week of the regular season, but the Gauchos took claim of their third Big West Conference Championship in the last four years when downed 23rd-ranked Cal State Northridge 2-1 in Harder Stadium. The Matadors finished second in the conference standings as they flip-flopped with UCSB from the 2003 table. The Gauchos put together an 8-2-0 record in Big West play this season to mark the fourth straight year that Santa Barbara has collected at least seven wins in conference competition, culminating in a 31-7-1 combined conference record since the Big West reinstated men's soccer in 2001. The Gauchos finished the regular season atop the Big West charts in wins (17), points (131), goals (40), assists (51), goals against average (0.53), shutouts (13), corner kicks (141), yellow cards (48), and attendance (24,292), averaging 1,215 per contest, more than twice as much as any other team in the conference.
Big West Accolades
For the fourth straight year, the Gauchos produced the Big West Conference's Offensive Player of the Year, as senior forward Drew McAthy took a share of this season's honors. UCSB had eight players in all earn all-conference honors and head coach Tim Vom Steeg earned the first Big West Coach of the Year award of his career. In addition to McAthy's co-offensive accolades, senior netminder Dan Kennedy was named the Big West's Goalkeeper of the Year for the second consecutive season, while defenders Tony Lochhead, a senior, and Andy Iro, a freshman, earned the conference's Defensive and Freshman Player of the Year awards, respectively. Joining McAthy, Kennedy, Lochhead and Iro on the All-Big West First Team were senior forward Neil Jones and junior defender Pat Scott, giving the 2004 Big West Champions six first team selections. Along with the Gauchos' six first teamers, midfielders Tyler Rosenlund and Nate Boyden were named All-Big West Second Team, garnering them the first all-conference honors of their careers.
Post Season Player Profiles
Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg
Vom Steeg is in his sixth season as head coach of the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer program, in his sixth years he has guided UCSB to an 86-32-7 overall record, making him the 8th winningest active coach in Division I (.716). The UCSB alum and former four-year letterwinner has put together winning seasons in five of his six at the helm, including four straight. This year's 20-2-1 overall mark stands as the best in program history and is the Gauchos' third consecutive 16+ win season, earning Vom Steeg Big West Coach of the Year honors. Having led Santa Barbara to its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2002, UCSB has now played in each of the last three, advancing to the second round in '02, the Sweet 16 in '03, and achieving a program high this year with the Gauchos' appearance in the College Cup. In his first season he took a team that went 2-17-1 the year prior and led it to a 13-7-0 final record, a +10.5 margin, tying for the fourth best turnaround in DI history and earning him MPSF Co-Coach of the Year honors. Since then UCSB has captured three Big West Conference Championships, including this season, and has ended the season ranked in the NSCAA/adidas coaches poll's Top 25 in each of the last three. This year Vom Steeg led the Gauchos to another milestone when they garnered the nation's No. 1 ranking mid way through the season, a school first, and then held onto the recognition for five of the final seven weeks, including the final two.
Senior Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy
For the second straight season Dan Kennedy was named the Big West Conference's Goalkeeper of the Year, earning him all-conference honors for the fourth consecutive year, becoming the first Gaucho ever (along with teammates Lochhead and McAthy) to be named all-conference in each of his four seasons. Named First Team All-Far West Region for the first time in his career, he posted his 12th complete game shutout of the season in the Sweet 16 against UNCG, establishing himself as the new UCSB single season record holder, bumping his career mark to 33, also a school record. Throughout his career he has blanked three of a possible six opponents in NCAA Tournament play. Currently sporting a 0.56 goals against average, which will go down as the lowest in Gaucho history by far, it stands as the fifth lowest in Division I this season and the third lowest in Big West history. The two-year team co-captain has posted a sub 1.00 GAA in each of his four seasons to give him a career average of 0.88, shattering UCSB's previous mark of 1.08 and placing him fourth all-time in conference history. In the Gauchos' second-to-last regular season match against Cal State Northridge, Kennedy achieved a historic milestone in school history when he became the first player to play 7,000 minutes in a UCSB uniform. Entering this weekend's College Cup he has played a total of 7,453 minutes. Named College Soccer News' National Player of the Week in third week of the season after shutting out then top-ranked Indiana to snap the Hoosier's 23-game unbeaten streak. Named to CSN's National Team of the Week the following week as well after posting his sixth and seventh shutouts of the season through the first eight matches against UC Riverside and UNLV, respectively. Kennedy has been named to CSN's National Team of the Week five times in his career. He was also recognized as the Big West's Player of the Week for the same two performances, garnering the third and fourth POW honors of his career.