The second half of the Big West men's soccer schedule kicks off Wednesday with first place UC Irvine owning a three-point lead on Cal State Fullerton and CSUN.
The 2018-19 season marks the 50th anniversary for men’s sports in the Big West Conference, and the 35th for women’s. All season long the Big West will celebrate the history of all 18 conference-sponsored sports.
DID YOU KNOW?
• With the Big West Tournament approaching, four schools have hoisted the trophy in the 10-year history of the event. UC Irvine leads all schools with four tournament championships. Cal State Fullerton is next with three, followed by CSUN (2) and UC Santa Barbara (1). UC Davis has reached the tourney finals twice (2017 and 2012), but did not come away with the crown.
• A goalkeeper has been selected the Most Valuable Player of the Big West Tournament five times in the 10-year history of the event, including each of the last four years. In 2008, UC Irvine’s Andrew Fontein was tabbed the first MVP of the tournament. In succession, Cal State Fullerton’s Jeff Salt (2014) and David Rodriguez Elias (2015), CSUN’s Kevin Marquez (2016) and CSF’s Paul-Andre Guerin (2017) have earned the honor.
UC Irvine Remains In Front Halfway Through League Schedule
UC Irvine stayed unbeaten in Big West play last week, picking up four points through a win at then-No. 25 UC Davis and tie against UC Santa Barbara. The Anteaters sit in first place with 10 points (3-0-1) at the midway point of the conference schedule. UCI started 3-0 in league play for the first time since 2010.
UCI faces a crucial test on Wednesday when Cal State Fullerton – tied with CSUN for second place with seven points – visits Anteater Stadium. The Titans have won four of the last six games via shutout, but finish out Big West regular season play with three straight road contests. It is Senior Night for the Anteaters as they clash against former UCI and current CSF head coach George Kuntz. A UCI win would secure the program’s first 10-win season since 2014 and clinch a berth in the Big West Tournament.
‘Eaters Return To Top Drawer Soccer Poll
UC Irvine returned to the top 25 in one of the three major polls for the first time in a little over a year, checking in at No. 23 nationally according to Top Drawer Soccer. That same online publication ranked the ‘Eaters No. 23 on Sept. 12, 2017. UCI is the third Big West club this season to taste the top 25. CSUN spent time there via Top Drawer Soccer and Soccer America, while UC Davis has been positioned in all three polls, including a five-week run in the United Soccer Coaches edition.
Davila Sets School Record For Wins
CSUN’s Terry Davila surpassed his mentor for the school’s career wins record with Saturday’s 1-0 triumph over Cal Poly. The 20th-year head coach earned win No. 193, moving past Marwan Ass’ad, who compiled a 192-102-26 mark from 1983-98. Davila is now 193-150-51 overall at the school.
UC Santa Barbara Puts Home Win Streak On Line
UC Santa Barbara’s hopes of returning to the front of the Big West race rest on this week’s results at home against UC Davis and CSUN. The Gauchos are undefeated (6-0) at Harder Stadium this year, outscoring opponents 12-3. In contrast, UCSB is 1-6-1 on the road and has been outscored 10-4 in those contests. Two losses would put the Gauchos in danger of missing the six-team Big West Tournament for the first time since 2012 – when it was four teams.
Canales On Cusp Of 20/20 Club
UC Irvine senior Ivan Canales is the Big West active career leader in goals (21), assists (19), points (61) and shots taken (127). The forward has accumulated 16 points on six goals and four assists this season. With one more assist, he will become just the seventh individual in Big West history to compile career totals of at least 20 goals and 20 assists. Others who have reached the milestone include the current UC Irvine head coach, Yossi Raz, who collected 22 goals and 28 assists with CSUN from 2001-04.
Career 20 Goals, 20 Assist Club
Gerrell Elliott, Fresno State
Doug Borgel, UNLV
Luis Silva, UC Santa Barbara
Randy Prescott, Fresno State
Yossi Raz, CSUN
Rich Ryerson, UNLV
Taieb Selected To MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List
UC Santa Barbara junior defender Faouzi Taieb earned a spot on the 2018 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, it was announced by United Soccer Coaches and the Missouri Athletic Club.
Taieb is one of 32 student-athletes on the radar for the nation’s most prestigious award which honors the nation’s top player. He is the eighth Gaucho all-time to crack that list, joining Tyler Rosenlund (2005), Andy Iro (2006, 2007), Eric Avila (2007), Chris Pontius (2008), Sam Garza (2011) and Ismaila Jome (2014).
He is the 13th Big West player to be considered for the MAC Hermann Trophy since 2005.
Taieb, a native of Marseille, France, is a key addition on the Gaucho backline. A transfer from St. Francis Brooklyn, Taieb earned ECAC and NEC Defensive Player of the Year honors after anchoring a defense that allowed just two goals during conference play. He also was named to the All-Northeast Region First Team as a sophomore, and as NEC Rookie of the Year as a freshman.
The MAC Hermann Trophy, presented by World Wide Technology, will be announced on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis. Fifteen semifinalists will be named near the end of the college season based on voting by NCAA Division I coaches and from those candidates, three finalists will be placed on the ballot for the coveted award.
Through The Years
Here is a list of Big West players who have appeared on the MAC Hermann Trophy Preseason Watch List since 2005.
2018 – Faouzi Taieb, UC Santa Barbara
2017 – None
2016 – Nick DePuy, UC Santa Barbara
2015 – Chase Minter, Cal Poly
2014 – Sagi Lev-Ari, CSUN
Ismaila Jome, UC Santa Barbara
2013 – Mackenzie Pridham, Cal Poly
2012 – None
2011 – Sam Garza, UC Santa Barbara
2010 – Spencer Thompson, UC Irvine
2009 – Patrick Sigler, Cal Poly
2008 – Chris Pontius, UC Santa Barbara
2007 – Andy Iro, UC Santa Barbara
Eric Avila, UC Santa Barbara
2006 – Andy Iro, UC Santa Barbara
2005 – Tyler Rosenlund, UC Santa Barbara
Several Coaches Hit Milestones
A number of Big West head coaches have achieved milestones during the 2018 season.
• UC Davis head coach Dwayne Shaffer, in his 22nd year at UC Davis, won his 100th game in the Big West on Sept. 2 against CSU Bakersfield. He is now 105-91-40 all-time in 11 seasons of coaching at the Division I level. He is just the seventh individual in history to win 100 games as a Big West coach. Tim Vom Steeg (234, UC Santa Barbara), George Kuntz (190, UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton), Terry Davila (179, CSUN), Jose Elgorriaga (126, Fresno State), Al Mistri (119, Cal State Fullerton) and Barry Barto (116, UNLV) are the others to accomplish the feat.
• Sacramento State head coach Michael Linenberger – in his 30th year at the helm of the program – earned his 200th career win on Oct. 3 against UC Santa Barbara. He is 201-294-63 as a head coach, including 44-65-18 during six-plus years in the Big West.
• UC Santa Barbara head coach Tim Vom Steeg picked up his 250th career victory on Aug. 26 versus UC Riverside. He owns an all-time record of 255-119-47, with 234 of those wins coming while in the Big West.
Cal State Fullerton has recorded 10 or more wins in four straight seasons, the longest current streak among Big West programs. The Titans won more games (43) than any other conference school in that four-year span, coinciding with the arrival of head coach George Kuntz in 2015.
Big First Impressions
Two of the nine Big West players who earned recognition on the United Soccer Coaches All-Far West Region Teams in 2017 included Nabi Kibunguchy of UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara’s Rodney Michael. They represented the first two Big West freshmen to earn all-region accolades since UCSB’s Ismaila Jome in 2013.
Cal State Fullerton senior Ross McPhie has accounted for eight career game-winning goals, the most among any current Big West player. He needs one more to tie former Titan Hector Orellana (2001-03) for eighth all-time in conference history. The 2017 Big West Co-Midfielder of the Year has a knack for the dramatic, as half of his 16 career goals have clinched wins for the Titans.