UC Davis visits UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly treks to Cal State Fullerton as the four remaining schools in the Big West Men's Soccer Tournament face off in semifinal action Wednesday.
UC Davis at UC Santa Barbara
Wednesday, Nov. 11 • 7 pm • Harder Stadium
All-Time Big West Tourney Meetings: UCSB leads 1-0
UC Santa Barbara is seeking its second Big West Tournament title – the first coming in 2010 – and enters the semifinal match with UC Davis well rested thanks to a first-round bye.
The Gauchos lead the conference with 38 goals, having collected multiple scores in 10 of their last 11 matches. UC Davis was the lone team to keep UCSB from that standard, but still took a 1-0 loss on Oct. 31 in Davis. UCSB swept the regular season series from the Aggies, winning at home by a 2-1 score on Oct. 21.
The Aggies went scoreless in their final three regular season games, but finally broke through with a pair of goals in their first-round tourney win at CSUN. UC Davis has recorded all eight wins this season when scoring two or more goals.
The nation’s second-leading scorer, Nick DePuy, has eight game-winning goals, the second-most in Big West single-season history. He scored at least one goal in six of UCSB’s 10 conference matches, but the Aggies managed to keep him off the board in both previous meetings.
UC Davis has had 14 different goal scorers this season, but perhaps the two most capable of shining under the lights are seniors Lucas Mohageg and Matt Wiesenfarth. Mohageg leads the team with seven goals and the Aggies are 7-0-1 when he registers at least one point. Wiesenfarth scored the game-winner against CSUN.
Cal Poly at Cal State Fullerton
Wednesday, Nov. 11 • 7 pm • Titan Stadium
All-Time Big West Tourney Meetings: First Meeting
In a matchup between two 11-win teams, these are the top two defenses in the Big West statistically.
Cal State Fullerton leads the Big West with the lowest goals against average (0.83) and the most shutouts (11). In fact, the Titans blanked seven of their 10 conference opponents en route to a 6-3-1 record and the South Division title, the first in program history.
Cal Poly, which has conceded multiple goals in a match just five times this season, is second in the Big West with a 0.94 goals against average. The Mustangs recorded one of their eight shutouts in a scoreless draw with Cal State Fullerton in the lone prior meeting on Oct. 8 in San Luis Obispo.
The Mustangs are led by two-time Big West Midfielder of the Year Chase Minter (7G, 6A), while four of the top scorers on the Titans are either freshmen or sophomores.
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Chalk Up No. 1: After five previous unsuccessful trips to the Big West Tournament, Cal Poly registered its first-ever tournament victory with Saturday’s 1-0 triumph over UC Irvine. The Mustangs won despite disadvantages in shots (17-4) and corners (14-0).
High Standards: Cal Poly tied a program Division I record for most victories in a season (11), accomplished five previous times – 1995, 1998, 2007, 2008 and 2012. The Mustangs attempt to take sole possession of the record in Wednesday’s Big West Tournament semifinals at Cal State Fullerton.
Hamilton’s Haven: Senior goalie Wade Hamilton extended his career high in shutouts to eight with Saturday’s result against UCI. He has now played 6,652 career minutes, which ranks fifth all-time in Big West history.
Great Grote: Freshman George Grote has dished the game-winning assist in Cal Poly’s last two victories. He is tied for the team lead with six helpers.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Tournament Talk: Cal State Fullerton seeks to defend its Big West Tournament championship as the No. 1 seed in the North Division. The Titans won their first division title with 19 points on a 6-3-1 record. The six conference wins are the most for CSF in the modern Big West era (2001-15).
Future Is Bright: Of CSF’s 27 goals scored this season, 19 have been accounted for by either freshmen or sophomores. Sophomore Diego Sanchez is the team leader with six goals, followed by freshmen Ross McPhie and Brandon West with four and three, respectively.
Shut Em Down: The Titans lead the Big West with 11 shutouts, and 10 of their 11 victories have come via the clean sheet.
That’s Pretty Stingy: Cal State Fullerton allowed a measly six goals to opponents over the 10-game Big West schedule, and all six were scored in three games. The Titans forged shutouts in seven of their 10 conference contests.
Embracing Overtime: The last six overtime contests have resulted in a positive result (3-0-3) for UC Davis, as the Aggies downed their third conference opponent in extra time in Saturday’s 2-1 win at CSUN.
Weezy Is Breezy: Senior Matt Wiesenfarth assisted on the first Aggie goal and knocked home the game-winner in overtime, his fourth of the year in the win over CSUN. Seven of Wiesenfarth’s 17 career goals have gone for game-winners.
Everyone In On The Act: Senior Connor Willis-Hong, seeing his first action of the match, scored just 49 seconds into his stint on the field against CSUN for his first strike of the season. He was the 14th different UC Davis player to score a goal this season, the most in a campaign since the 1999 team had 16 goal scorers.
Getting On Top: UC Davis is 7-0-1 this season when scoring the first goal of a match.
Mohageg Mention: The Aggies are 7-1-0 this season when senior Lucas Mohageg records a goal or an assist.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Tournament Talk: UC Santa Barbara is back in the Big West Tournament for the seventh time in eight years. This is the third straight year that the Gauchos are representing the North Division as the No. 1 seed. UCSB hosts UC Davis on Wednesday in hopes of avoiding a loss in the semifinals for the third consecutive season.
Offensive Machine: The Gauchos have tallied two or more goals in 14 of 19 contests this season, leading the Big West and ranking 12th nationally with 38 goals.
Acheampong Assist Man: The 2015 Big West Freshman of the Year, Geoffrey Acheampong sits atop the conference leaderboard with 10 assists. He is bidding to become the first Gaucho to lead the league in assists since Luis Silva and Dom Sarle tied for the honor in 2011. The last player to record 11 assists in a season was Dylan Curtis of UC Davis in 2008.
The DePuy Factor: Led by Nick DePuy, the nation’s second-leading goal scorer with 16, the Gauchos are 16-0-4 over the past two seasons when he finds the back of the net.