Gauchos Prepare for Friday's Home Opener Against No. 13 San Diego

Gauchos Prepare for Friday's Home Opener Against No. 13 San Diego

Aug. 27, 2008

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• The Schedule
Friday, August 29, 2008 at 5:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. the University of San Diego
at UCSB’s Harder Stadium

Saturday, August 31, 2008 at 1:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at Pepperdine
at Pepperdine’s Tari Frahm Rokus Field

• Let's Play Two!
Friday's home opener against the University of San Diego, which will kick-off at 5:00 p.m., will be part of a doubleheader.  The UCSB men's team will host Air Force in its season opener

• The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters its home-opener on Friday with a record of 1-1.  After opening the season on Aug. 22 with a 4-0 shutout win over Nevada, the Gauchos dropped a tough 2-1 decision at third-ranked UCLA on Tuesday afternoon.  

• On The Stumpf
Paul Stumpf is in his 10th season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. He enters this week’s action with a record of 88-70-21. His total of 88 wins ranks second on UCSB’s all-time list. Last season, he guided the Gauchos to a 6-10-4 overall record, including a 3-4-1 record in the Big West.  Stumpf has led the program to records of .500 or better in six of the last eight seasons, including, at one point, four straight seasons of 10 or more victories, the first time the program accomplished that feat since 1988-91.  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.  He has, in fact, guided the Gauchos to a top-three league finish in six of the last eight seasons, and twice he has led the program to regular season championships.  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 Picked to Win Big West
UCSB, which finished fifth in the Big West standings in 2007, has been chosen to win the league’s 2008 regular season crown in a poll of the nine coaches.  The Gauchos collected four first-place votes and a total of 74 points to edge Long Beach State, which garnered three first-place votes and 73 total points.  The 49ers are a two-time defending league regular season champ.  Cal Poly had a pair of first-place votes and 62 points, while Cal State Fullerton, which has won the last two Big West Tournaments, had 60 points.

• Nice Beginnings
Offensively, UCSB struggled throughout the 2007 season, scoring just 18 goals in 19 matches.  In their first game of the 2008 campaign, the Gauchos scored four goals, equaling their high-water mark of last season.  In all, they scored five goals in its first two matches this season.  In 2007, Santa Barbara didn’t score its fifth goal of the season until the some time in the first half of a 3-0 win at Cal State Bakersfield on Sept. 20, the seventh match of the season.

• Welcome Back Genelle
Junior forward Genelle Ives had a nice welcome back to the Gauchos’ lineup in the win at the University of Nevada.  Ives, who missed all of the 2007 season while recovering from a knee injury, assisted on the first goal of the contest, by Michelle Russell.  In the 50th minute, she scored UCSB’s fourth an final goal in the 4-0 shutout.  It was Ives’ first goal since the 2006 season and the 14th of her career, moving her within one goal of the school’s all-time top-10.  She now has 38 career points, moving her into a tie for 15th in school history.  

• No Flash in the Pan
Sophomore forward Kailyn Kugler got an opportunity to play in 2007 because of the numerous injuries suffered by Gaucho players.  As a result, Kugler led the team in goals with six, and points with 14.  In Friday’s win at Nevada, she gave notice that she was no fluke, as she scored a goal and assisted on a second goal.  Kugler came off the bench in each of UCSB’s first two matches, but played 84 minutes.  Both of her shots came at Reno, and each was on-goal.   

• Getting Defensive
UCSB posted a shutout in its season opening win at Nevada, allowing just six total shots, one of which was on goal.  In the tough loss at UCLA, the Gauchos allowed just 13 shots, six on goal.  The two goals they allowed were three fewer than they gave-up to the Bruins in 2006, the last time the teams met.

• Familiar Face No. 2
Genelle Ives has had a nice return to action after missing the entire 2007 season while rehabilitating an injured knee.  Ives, however, is not the only player returning to the fold after sitting out last season.  Sophomore goalkeeper Tammy Lenham missed the 2007 campaign following shoulder surgery.  This season she was expected to be the team’s starting goalkeeper, and on Tuesday at UCLA, she made her season debut and her first appearance since the 2006 season.  Lenham faced 13 total shots from the Bruins, six on goal, and she had four saves while allowing a pair of goals.  As a freshman in 2006, the Hermosa Beach, Calif., native played in five matches, starting four, and allowed just four goals in 465 minutes.  She had 22 saves and a solid goals against average of 0.77. 

• Youth is Served
If the early results are any indicator, UCSB has reason for optimism regarding its newcomers.  In the first game of the year, at Nevada, the Gauchos started two freshman and a sophomore transfer, and overall 12 newcomers saw action.  Freshmen defender Alexa Stringer, freshman goalkeeper Ali Cutler, and sophomore forward Kylie McDonald, a transfer from Pepperdine, were each in the starting lineup.  Freshman forward Alissa Sanchez came off the bench against the Wolf Pack, and she scored Santa Barbara’s third goal of the match.  In the game at UCLA, Stringer was joined on the starting back line by freshman Alyssa Oldham.  McDonald was also in the starting lineup, and eight first-year Gauchos saw action.  Midfielder Cory Yoshida, who came off the bench to play 44 minutes against the Bruins, scored UCSB’s goal, a rebound shot in the 52nd minute.  Through two matches, 13 different newcomers have made at least one appearance, with eight having played at least 50 minutes.  Stringer leads the way having logged 167 of a possible 180 minutes.  

• Don’t Forget the Oldtimers
While much of the early-season Gaucho attention has been focussed on the players returning after missing the 2007 season with injuries and the newcomers, some of the holdovers are off to a pretty good start too.  Senior forward Michelle Russell has started both games, playing 117 minutes.  She scored the team’s first goal of the season, at Nevada, and assisted on Ives’ goal.  Senior midfielder Sami Svrcek has made both starts, playing 152 minutes, and she assisted on Kailyn Kugler’s goal.  Senior defender Rachael Ritchey continues to anchor UCSB’s defense.  Through two games, she has played 175 of 180 possible minutes.    

• Ranked in the Region
UCSB is ranked 10th in the West Region by Soccer Buzz Magazine.  The Gauchos, picked to win the Big West, are one spot back of fellow league member Long Beach State, which checks in at No. 9.  UCLA, which defeated Santa Barbara 2-1, is ranked No. 1 in the West, and No. 1 nationally by Soccer Buzz. 

• Several Tough Opponents, One Long Strange Trip
As is often the case, UCSB has a very difficult schedule in 2008.  Including UCLA, which they played on Tuesday, the Gauchos will play three teams currently ranked among Soccer Buzz’s top-14.  In addition to the Bruins, UCSB plays host to 13th-ranked San Diego on Friday, Aug. 29, and then to 14th-ranked Tennessee on Sunday, Sept. 14.  The Gauchos will also have one of the longest road trips in recent memory.  While they will undoubtedly return home several times, following the Sept. 14 game against Tennessee, they will go on the road for a game against Montana in Honolulu, and games at Hawai’i, Arizona State, Arizona, UC Riverside, and Cal State Fullerton, before returning home on Oct. 10.