October 3, 2007

Gauchos Open Big West Play at Home Against Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside

Oct. 3, 2007

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This Week
Friday, October 5, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal State Fullerton
at UCSB's Harder Stadium

Sunday, October 7, 2007 at 1:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Riverside
at UCSB's Harder Stadium

The Week Ahead
UC Santa Barbara will open Big West Conference play on Friday, Oct. 3 when it hosts the two-time defending Big West Tournament Champs, Cal State Fullerton. On Sunday, the Gauchos host UC Riverside. Both matches are at Harder Stadium. In 2006, UCSB went 5-1-1 in league play, tying Long Beach State for the regular season title. Cal State Fullerton finished third with a 4-2-1 mark and UC Riverside tied for seventh at 2-4-1. The Titans, however, defeated the Gauchos in the first round of the Big West Tournament and then went on to win the title for the second year in a row.

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 84-64-19. His total of 84 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.

The Bigger West
As UCSB enters league play this week, it does so in a slightly bigger league. Since the Gauchos last played a conference game, the Big West has added a ninth school. UC Davis, which for the past few years has played a conference schedule but has not been included in the league standings, will be included in 2007. Big West teams will now play eight matches instead of the seven they had played since Utah State and Idaho departed following the 2004 season.

The Gauchos Hit 25
The 2007 season is the 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
UCSB enters conference play with a record of 3-5-2. The Gauchos had a two-match winning streak and a four-match unbeaten string ended last weekend when they lost contests at Washington State (3-0) and Gonzaga (1-0). It doesn't take Albert Einstein to realize that Santa Barbara enters league action hoping to end a two-game losing streak.

Offensive Drought Costs UCSB In Pacific Northwest
After scoring five goals during a two-game winning streak, UCSB went scoreless in a pair of losses last weekend. The Gauchos, who have now scored nine goals in 10 matches this season, were able to muster just 16 total shots in the games at Washington State and Gonzaga, seven of which were on goal. During their two straight wins, over Cal State Bakersfield and San Diego State, they had 34 shots, 22 on goal. On the other side of the coin, despite giving up three goals in the loss to WSU, UCSB played fairly well defensively, allowing a total of 28 shots, 10 of which were on goal. In Sunday's defeat at Gonzaga, Santa Barbara allowed just two shots on goal. Both games remained tied 0-0 through the first 60 minutes.

Injuries Continue To Force Gauchos' Hand
Injuries and illness have continued to force the UCSB coaching staff to play more youngsters than anticipated. In the game at Washington State on Friday, the Gauchos played 18 players, 10 of which were freshmen and on Sunday at Gonzaga, eight of the 15 players used were freshmen. Just four UCSB players have started all 10 matches this season, defenders Rachael Ritchey and Kandice Mclaughlin, and midfielders Sami Svrcek and Sarah Stoltz. Four others, midfielders Romy Barber and Kailyn Kugler, and forwards Michelle Russell and Jacqui Simon, have played in all 10.

Gauchos Picked Second In BWC Coaches Poll
UCSB was selected to finish second in the annual preseason coaches poll. Actually, the Gauchos were picked to finish tied with Cal Poly for second in the poll. Long Beach State, which received five first-place votes and earned a total of 77 points, was picked to win the regular season title. UCSB and Cal Poly each received a pair of first-place votes and totaled 63 points. Cal State Fullerton, Santa Barbara's first league opponent, was picked fourth with a total of 59 points. UC Riverside, Cal State Northridge, Pacific, UC Davis and UC Irvine were picked in the fifth through ninth spots respectively.

Romy Wasn't Built In A Day
Amid all of the disappointment because of injuries and illness, there have been a few bright spots for UCSB. Arguably the brightest of the bright spots has been the emergence of senior midfielder Romy Barber. Barber entered the 2007 season having scored just one goal in 36 previous matches but this season she is the Gauchos' leading scorer with three goals. Included among Barber's three goals was arguably the team's biggest score of the season, an overtime game-winner against San Diego State.

Franklin Mints Her First Start
Freshman goalkeeper Cassi Franklin couldn't have expected to receive a whole lot of playing time in her first season at UCSB, but when the Gauchos' run of injuries expanded to include senior goalkeeper Katie Wright last weekend, she was forced into the lineup. Wright was injured late in the match at Washington State, causing Franklin to play the final 11:21 of that contest, and then she made her first true start in the game at Gonzaga. The native of Fair Oaks, Calif., was solid in both appearances last weekend, allowing just one goal in more than 101 minutes while posting one save.

A Fresh Approach
I hate to hash and then rehash the subject, but I will anyway. By design or circumstance, UCSB has been forced to utilize numerous freshmen this season. As mentioned earlier, of the 18 players who played in the game at Washington State, 10 were freshmen, and of the 15 who played in the game at Gonzaga on Sunday, eight were freshmen. On the season, 12 different freshmen have logged playing time for UCSB and eight have started. Forward Jacqui Simon has made the most starts of any freshman, eight, while midfielder Kailyn Kugler, forward Brooke Salyer and defender Julia Speace have each been in the starting lineup six times.

Gaucho Notes
Sami Svrcek leads the Gauchos in attempted shots, but she has yet to score a goal in 2007...Svrcek and defender Katrina Wright are tied for the team lead with a pair of assists...UCSB and its opponents have each scored four goals in the first half of games this season, but the opposition has tallied seven in the second half while the Gauchos have scored four...After playing a school record six overtime matches in 2006, all of which wound up tied, Santa Barbara has played four through the first 10 matches this season...Unlike last season when all of the OT contests finished tied, two have been decided this season with the Gauchos defeating San Diego State and losing to Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

On The Horizon
UCSB will play one of its final two non-conference matches on Thursday, Oct. 11, when it hosts Pepperdine at 7:00 p.m. in Harder Stadium. The Gauchos will then travel to UC Irvine on Sunday, Oct. 14, for their first conference road match of the 2007 season. The UCSB-Anteater match-up will start at 1:00 p.m.

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