Michael, Kibunguchy Earn Men's Soccer Honors For First Time
Rodney Michael and Nabi Kibunguchy helped their squads start out Big West play unbeaten.
Michael Leads Gaucho Offensive Outburst
UC Santa Barbara’s long awaited goal outbreak coincided with the start of conference play, and Big West Men’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week Rodney Michael (Freetown, Sierra Leone/Dunn School) was a core contributor.
Held to five goals through the first eight matches, UC Santa Barbara exploded for eight goals in home wins over Cal State Fullerton (5-2) and UC Riverside (3-1). Michael delivered two goals and two assists as a central figure in the Gaucho attack.
The freshman standout is now tied for third in the Big West with 11 points on four goals and three assists.
Michael had a goal and two assists in UCSB’s conference opener against CSF. He set up the first goal on a rush, freezing his defender before cutting into the box and dropping off a pass to Derek Kryzda for his first career goal.
He assisted on UCSB’s fourth goal, redirecting a free kick with a header across the box and onto the foot of Adrian Adames, who half-volleyball the ball into net with his first collegiate goal.
Michael finished off UCSB’s scoring as his hustle to the far post on a corner kick allowed him to poke the ball in with his right foot.
In the Highlander victory, the forward completed the scoring for the night as he sprinted through the defense before hitting a laser to the left corner of the goal. Michael took five of UCSB’s season-high 25 shots in the match.
Others nominated: Kaba Alkebulan (Cal Poly); Diego Sanchez (Cal State Fullerton); Nicholas Grinde (CSUN); Christian Webb (Sacramento State); Adam Mickelson (UC Davis)
Kibunguchy Anchors Stingy Aggie Defense
In his first two starts of the season, UC Davis redshirt freshman Nabi Kibunguchy (Elk Grove, Calif./Cosumnes Oaks HS) earned Big West Men’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week accolades as the two Aggie opponents scored just one goal combined.
The Aggies emerged unbeaten from week one of Big West play, shutting out UC Irvine (2-0) and battling to a 1-1 tie against CSUN.
Kibunguchy was instrumental in getting the Aggies off to their first unbeaten start since 2012. He helped limit the Anteaters to just eight shots total – four on goal. The Matadors had an even tougher time with only five shots overall in the 110 minutes of play. CSUN forged overtime with a goal 15 seconds from regulation time.
The defender took four shots in the two matches combined, including a season-best three versus CSUN. The shutout against UCI was the first of the year for the Aggies.
Others nominated: Simon Boehme (Cal Poly); Sam Molz (Cal State Fullerton); Henrik Regitnig (CSUN); Randy Mendoza (UC Santa Barbara)