Aug. 29, 2007
Friday, August 31, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Loyola Marymount
at UCSB's Harder Stadium (17,000)
Sunday, September 2, 2007 at 6:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 14 USC
at UCSB's Harder Stadium (17,000)
The Week Ahead
UC Santa Barbara will open the 2007 regular season at home on Friday, August 31 with a 7:00 p.m. match against Loyola Marymount. The Gauchos enter the season tied for 15th in the West Regional ranking by Soccer Buzz Magazine. The Lions, who went 11-3-6 in 2006, are ranked 14th. On Sunday, UCSB hosts USC, which enters the year ranked 25th in the NSCAA/adidas poll and 14th in the Soccer Buzz national poll. The Trojans went 11-5-5 in 2006.
The Gauchos Hit 25
The 2007 season will be the 25th intercollegiate campaign for the UC Santa Barbara women's soccer program. The Gauchos first laced up their shoes as an intercollegiate program in 1983. Prior to 1983, UCSB had been a club program.
On The Record
Friday will be UCSB's first match of the 2007 season so it goes without saying that the Gauchos enter the week with a 0-0 record. In 2006, the UCSB went 7-7-6 overall, but they did go 5-1-1 in Big West play, tying Long Beach State for the regular season league championship.
Tough Start To A Tough Schedule
UCSB will waste no time embarking on one of the most difficult schedules in school history. Loyola Marymount and USC each advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2006. In fact, the Gauchos will play seven contests against teams that went to the postseason in 2006, including five of their first six matches. In addition to the first two opponents, Santa Barbara will travel to UW-Milwaukee (Sept. 9) and Santa Clara (Oct. 17), while hosting Denver (Sept. 14), UNLV (Sept. 16) and Cal State Fullerton (Oct. 5). The Gauchos will play three other opponents (Wisconsin, Pepperdine and UC Riverside) that went to the NCAA Tournament as recently as 2005.
On The Stumpf
Paul Stumpf is in his ninth season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. He enters this week's action with a record of 81-59-17. His total of 81 wins ranks second on UCSB's all-time list. Last season, he guided the Gauchos to a 7-7-6 overall record, including a 5-1-1 record in the Big West, good enough to tie for the regular season championship. Stumpf has led the program to records of .500 or better in six of the last seven seasons, including 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 seven seasons. 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.
Gauchos Pick Second In Big West Preseason Poll
UCSB, which shared the Big West regular season title with Long Beach State in 2006, has been picked to finish in a tie for second-place in the 2007 Big West preseason coaches poll. Long Beach earned five of nine first-place votes and totaled 77 points in the poll, good for the top spot. The Gauchos and Cal Poly each received a pair of first-place votes and totaled 63 points to tie for second. Cal State Fullerton, the two-time defending league tournament champion, was picked fourth. UC Riverside was chosen fifth, Cal State Northridge was picked sixth, Pacific was seventh, UC Davis was eighth and UC Irvine was selected ninth.
Ives To Redshirt
Junior forward Genelle Ives, a First Team All-Big West choice in 2006 and a Second Team All-Big West honoree in 2005, will redshirt the 2007 season with a knee injury, head coach Paul Stumpf has announced. Ives, the Big West co-Freshman of the Year in 2005, has either led or tied for the team-lead in goals each of her first two seasons. In her two years, the Dana Point, Calif., native has 13 goals and 10 assists for 36 points.
The Wright Stuff In Goal
Senior goalkeeper Katie Wright was a Second Team All-Big West choice in 2006 and she is once again expected to be a key to UCSB fortunes. Although she is nursing a sore knee, Wright is expected to be in the lineup when the season begins on Friday. Last year, she finished with a misleading 6-6-3 record. Wright went 6-1-1 in her final eight starts in 2006, going unbeaten in seven consecutive matches at one point. Her goals against average of 0.86 was the third lowest in school history and she recorded six shutouts. Wright's backups in 2007 are expected to be sophomore Kelly Soler and freshman Cassi Franklin. Soler redshirted in 2006 after playing part-time in 2005. Sophomore Tammy Lenham, the primary back-up in 2006, will sit-out the year with a shoulder injury.
In Defense Of The Gauchos
UCSB returns most of its defenders from a 2006 team that allowed just 18 goals in 20 matches and posted six shutouts. Junior Rachael Ritchey was a First Team All-Big West selection in 2007 after starting all 20 matches. She will anchor the middle of the defense. Senior Kandice Mclaughlin, an honorable mention all-leaguer last year, will also be back. She has a powerful leg and she is actually the team's top returning active goal-scorer having found the back of the net three times in 2006. Senior Katrina Wright, a left-footer, made 12 starts in 2006 and is a solid player on the outside. The fourth defender will likely come from a threesome of veterans. Junior Jessie Steinberg played in 11 matches in 2006 after redshirting the 2005 season. She will figure into the mix. Senior Katie Dwyer, limited due to injury in 2006, started 19 matches in 2005 and if she is healthy will get an opportunity to return to the lineup. Junior Katie Smith started 18 times in 2006 and like Dwyer, if she is healthy, will get a chance to return to the starting lineup in 2007.
Junior midfielder Sami Svrcek started all 20 matches for UCSB in 2006, scoring one goal and five assists for seven points. Svrcek finished second on the team with her five assists. This year, she is expected to takeover the leadership role in the midfield. A very good play-maker and a fierce competitor, Svrcek is also one of the team captains.
The Rest Of The Midfield Story
Svrcek is expected to be joined in the starting lineup by sophomore Sarah Stoltz and junior Linda Allen. Stoltz, like Svrcek is a tremendous competitor. She started just three matches in 2006, but played in all 20, notching a pair of assists. Allen played in 18 and started 11. She had one assist. Freshman Kate Mogannam (Monte Vista HS/Danville, Calif.) and senior Romy Barber will get an opportunity to earn time.
Now For Something Completely Different
Well, not completely different. While the backline and midfield have some similarity to last season, the Gaucho forward line will have only a little resemblance. With junior Genelle Ives redshirting, junior Michelle Russell, who played in 18 matches and scored one goal in 2006, will likely be the only familiar face among the starters up front. She came to camp in the best shape of her career and seems to have seized the opportunity to start. She will probably be joined by a pair of freshmen. Jaqui Simon, who can play both midfield and forward, transferred to UCSB after sitting out the 2006 season at UCLA. She was in school during the spring season, so she should have no problem finding her niche. The third spot will probably go to a true freshman, either Brooke Salyer (Santa Margarita HS/Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) or Erica Seidman (Tesoro HS/Coto de Caza, Calif.).