Gauchos Look to Stay Perfect at Home with Pivotal Week of Big West Play

Migel Gomez (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Migel Gomez (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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The Schedule
Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (7-6-1, 1-2-1) vs. UC Davis (8-3-3, 1-2-1)
Harder Stadium - Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Aggies: 22-10-5
Last Meeting: Oct. 21, 2017 - UCD def. UCSB, 5-0
UCSB Form: L L W L T
UCD Form: W T L L W
Video: BigWest.TV

Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (7-6-1, 1-2-1) vs. CSUN (8-5-1, 2-1-1)
Harder Stadium - Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Matadors: 24-16-5
Last Meeting: Oct. 5, 2017 - UCSB def. CSUN, 1-0 (OT)
UCSB Form: L L W L T
CSUN Form: L T W L W
Video: BigWest.TV

Big West Table

Video Stream Available
Both of this week's matchups, Wednesday vs. UC Davis and Saturday vs. CSUN will be available to watch through BigWest.TV with the Voice of the Gauchos, Gerry Fall, on the call. An audio broadcast produced by KCSB is also available with Arthur Wilkie handling play-by-play duties. 

College Cup Tickets on Sale Now!
UC Santa Barbara hosts the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer College Cup on Dec. 7 and 9 at Harder Stadium. College Cup ticket packages as well as UCSB season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online or by calling the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office at 805-893-UCSB. 

Last Week in Review
The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team salvaged a draw with two second half goals at first-place UC Irvine to highlight a two-game road trip last week. The Gauchos faltered 1-0 at UC Riverside last Wednesday, dropping their fourth straight 1-0 match on the road. On Saturday at UC Irvine, UCSB fell behind 2-0 before Hunter Ashworth and Carson Vom Steeg delivered their first goals in a Gaucho uniform to help even the score. 

Scouting UC Davis
UC Davis started the season 6-0-2 and reached as high as No. 13 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll, but have gone just 2-3-1 since and are off to a slow start in Big West play. The Aggies are coming off a 3-0 win over UC Riverside to bounce back after losses to UC Irvine and CSUN, the top two teams in the conference standings. UCD is led by junior forward Adam Mickelson (4g, 6a), freshman midfielder Robert Mejia (2g, 4a), senior defender Justin Wright (3g, 2a) and junior midfielder Dylan Wood (3g, 2a). As a team, the Aggies average 1.57 goals per game while holding opponents to an average of 0.93. 

Matchup with the Matadors
UCSB hosts second-place CSUN in another crucial conference matchup with playoff seeding implications. The Matadors are coming off a 1-0 win over Cal Poly and topped then No. 16 UC Davis 3-0 prior to a 2-1 loss at Sacramento State. CSUN is led by sophomore forward Daniel Trejo, who leads the Big West with nine goals and 22 points. Trejo also leads the nation in shot accuracy with 30 shots on target in 41 attempts for a percentage of .732. Johnny Rodriguez and Wolfgang Prentice both have four goals apiece for a CSUN offense that averages 1.86 goals per game while allowing an average of 1.14. 

Home Sweet Home
UCSB has had a history of success playing at Harder Stadium and this season is no different as the Gauchos are a perfect 6-0 at home and just 1-6-1 on the road. Last season, UCSB went unbeaten in eight of its 10 home matches during the regular season (4-2-4) and boasts a .727 winning percentage (144-46-25) all-time in the Tim Vom Steeg era (since 1999).

Recognition for Roach
Freshman keeper Ben Roach was ranked No. 21 on Top Drawer Soccer's list of Top-100 Freshmen. The Santa Barbara, Calif. native and Santa Barbara HS product has been solid in goal all season for UCSB with flashes of brilliance at times. Roach ranks second in the Big West with a goals against average of 0.89 while totaling 43 saves to go with three shutouts. 

Top Praise from Top Drawer 
UCSB was mentioned by TopDrawerSoccer.Com as one of 14 teams named as NCAA Division I title contenders in 2018. The Gauchos also had two players recognized among its National Top 100 list, with Faouzi Taieb coming in at No. 55 and Rodney Michael at No. 79. Within the Big West, Top Drawer ranks six Gauchos in the Top 20 with Taieb at No. 2, Michael at No. 3, Ignacio Tellechea at No. 5, Carson Vom Steeg at No. 9, Alan Carrillo at No. 10 and Adrian Adames at No. 19.

Vom Steeg Captures Career Win No. 250
Entering his 20th season at the helm of the UCSB soccer program, head coach Tim Vom Steeg needed just two wins to reach No. 250 for his career, and the Gauchos did not waste any time. With two convincing wins over opening weekend, Vom Steeg reached the milestone. "It was nice to get 250 on a night like tonight," Vom Steeg said on reaching the milestone after a 3-1 win over UC Riverside last Sunday. "I enjoyed the way our team played tonight and I liked our effort, so it's very rewarding. It is an incredible challenge to take a new group of players every single year - which we end up having to do quite a bit here at UCSB - and make it work. But for me, I'm hoping this year will be not 250, but 270. Our goal is to rack up as many wins as we can and keep this thing going."

All in the Family 
Carson Vom Steeg, a current USA youth international player, 2017 NCAA Champion at Stanford and son of UC Santa Barbara head coach Tim Vom Steeg, will return home and play for the Gauchos this fall. The second eldest of Tim Vom Steeg's four sons, Carson will carry on the family tradition as the third Vom Steeg to play for UCSB. He will follow in the footsteps of his older brother Justin, who led the Gauchos to the Round of 16 in the 2015 NCAA Tournament and is currently playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy, as well as his father/coach Tim, who was a four-year letterwinner from 1985-88. Carson played in 18 games as a freshman defender at Stanford and is currently a member of the US Men's National Team U20 player pool.

He's One to Watch
Junior defender Faouzi Taieb (Marseille, France/St. Francis Brooklyn) was one of 32 players named to the prestigious MAC Hermann Watch List, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding male and female players of the year. Before he has even played a game for UCSB, Taieb becomes the eighth Gaucho all-time to be named to the watch list joining Tyler Rosenlund (2005), Andy Iro (2006, 2007), Eric Avila (2007), Chris Pontius (2008), Sam Garza (2011), Ismalia Jome (2014) and Nick DePuy (2016). Taieb was a sensational defender the past two seasons for St. Francis Brooklyn, earning NEC Defensive Player of the Year accolades as a sophomore and NEC Rookie of the Year as a freshman.