Gauchos Open 2006 Regular Season Friday at No. 17 USC

Gauchos Open 2006 Regular Season Friday at No. 17 USC

Aug. 22, 2006

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The Schedule
Match No. 1
Friday, August 25, 2006 at 3:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at USC Trojans
at USC's McAlister Field

Match No. 2
Sunday, August 27, 2006 at 2:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at the University of San Diego Toreros
at USD's Torero Stadium

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara ended the 2005 season with an overall record of 9-10-0 and a Big West mark of 3-4-0. The Gauchos finished fifth in the conference and, for the first time since its inception, did not advance to the league's postseason tournament. In fact, 2005 marked the first time since 1999 that UCSB finished the year with a record below the .500 mark. The Gauchos won their only exhibition match of the 2006 season, a 1-0 decision over visiting Cal State Dominguez Hills.

On The Stumpf
Paul Stumpf is in his eighth season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. He enters this week's action with a record of 74-52-11. His total of 74 wins ranks second on UCSB's all-time list. Prior to last season, he had led the Gauchos to four consecutive seasons of double-figures in wins, the first time the program had accomplished the feat since 1988-91. Last season, he guided a young and injury-riddled UCSB team to a 9-10-0 record. Prior to the 2005 campaign, Stumpf had coached the Gauchos to five straight seasons of .500 or better, a feat that had last been accomplished more than a decade ago. In 1999, Stumpf's first season as the head coach at UCSB, he took a team that was selected to finish last in the conference, but instead posted an 8-9-1 overall record and a 5-4 mark in the Big West. Following the season, he was chosen as the Big West's Coach of the Year. Before arriving in Santa Barbara as an assistant coach in 1998, Stumpf spent two seasons as an assistant at Humboldt State. In addition, the San Diego native spent several years coaching club teams in the Santa Rosa area.

UCSB Uses All Available Players In Exhibition Win
UCSB used almost every available player in its 1-0 exhibition win over Cal State Dominguez Hills on Saturday night. Senior midfielder Darci Gwartz scored the match's only goal in the second minute on an assist by Michelle Russell. The Gauchos sturdy defense and a trio of goalkeepers made the one goal stand-up. More important than the win, however, was the fact that the UCSB coaching staff was able to see nearly all of its available players. The only players who did not play were seniors Allie Kueny and Kristyn Bright, junior transfer Heather Young, sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Soler and redshirt freshman goalkeeper Alyssa Haines. Soler is expected to redshirt.

For Openers, Gaucho Have Tough Task On Their Hands
The Gauchos will open the 2006 regular season on Friday, Aug. 25 when they travel to Los Angeles to face USC. The Trojans enter the season ranked 17th in the nation by Soccer Buzz Magazine. The match will mark the fifth time that UCSB and USC have met, but the first time since the 1997 season. The Trojans hold a 3-1 advantage in the series. Last year, on goals by then-freshmen Genelle Ives and Michele Russell, UCSB opened the season with a 1-0 win at Fresno State. For the Gauchos, Friday's match will be the first of four consecutive road games to open the 2006 season. UCSB will also travel to the University of San Diego (Aug. 27), San Diego State (Sept. 3) and Loyola Marymount (Sept. 5) before playing at home. The Gauchos host Wisconsin on Sept. 8 at Harder Stadium in their first home match.

UCSB Selected Third In Big West Coaches Poll
UCSB was picked to finish third in the annual preseason poll by the Big West coaches. Although they did not receive any first-place votes, the Gauchos totaled 42 points, one point more than Cal Poly. Long Beach State, which enters the season ranked nationally, was picked to win the regular season title with 56 points and three first-place votes. Cal State Fullerton, the defending regular season and tournament champion, was picked second with 48 points and two first-place votes. Cal Poly also received a pair of first-place votes but still finished in fourth-place behind UCSB. Pacific was picked fifth with 35 points, but the Tigers also earned one first-place vote.

Playing For Keeps
Saturday's exhibition match against Cal State Dominguez Hills consisted of three 30 minute periods instead of the regular pair of 45 minute halves, allowing the UCSB coaching staff to play its three primary goalkeepers 30 minutes apiece. Katie Wright, a junior transfer from Nebraska, played the first 30 minute segment and saved the only shot on goal that she faced. True freshman Tammy Lenham (Hermosa Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS) played the second 30 minutes and had a pair of saves and redshirt freshman Austen Everett (Seattle, Wash./Bishop Blanchet HS) played the final 30 and had a trio of saves. At least in the early going, it seems that the Gauchos have more depth at goalkeeper than any time in recent years. In addition, UCSB will be taller in goal than any recent year. Current assistant coach Jamie Considine, the primary starter each of the last four seasons, stands 5-foot-7. Wright is 5-foot-10, while both Lenham and Everett are 5-foot-9.

One Return, One Delayed Return
Senior midfielder Kristyn Bright and sophomore defender Jessie Steinberg each took a medical redshirt year in 2005. Bright missed the entire season and Steinberg missed all but the first couple of matches. In Saturday's exhibition against Cal State Dominguez Hills, Steinberg returned to her spot among Gaucho defenders and contributed to a 1-0 shutout win. Bright's return to the fold was delayed, at least temporarily, as the two-time All-Big West selection nursed a leg injury. Two other UCSB players who missed a majority of the 2005 season but did not redshirt, also made their returns. Senior forward Chandi Bickford struggled with knee problems in 2005 and played in just seven matches. She had just four shots and one assist as a junior. In 2004, as a sophomore, Bickford was arguably the Gauchos' most improved player as she played in all 21 contests, scoring three goals and a team-leading 10 assists for 16 points. The Maui native did not score on Saturday, but she started and had two shots, both on goal. The other player making her return on in the exhibition was sophomore forward Michelle Russell. Russell played in the first seven matches in 2005, starting five and scoring two goals. In the seventh game of the season, however, she went down with a badly sprained ankle and she never returned. Russell did return on Saturday and she assisted on the goal by Darci Gwartz, the only goal of the game.

Short Shots
UCSB's top returning scorer, sophomore forward Genelle Ives, did not start in the exhibition game but she did play and she had a pair of shots...The Gaucho starting lineup on Saturday included six sophomores, one freshman, two juniors and two seniors...The two seniors who started, Gwartz and Bickford, were the only seniors to play.