Men's Soccer -
Men's Soccer

Highlanders, Gauchos Vie For Final Tournament First Round Bye


Big West Men's Soccer Release No. 10

UC Irvine is the regular season and No. 1 seed for next week's Big West Men's Soccer Tournament, but UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara are battling for the No. 2 seed and a first round bye.


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.

• Since 2002, the Big West has had 20 players named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-American Team (now known as United Soccer Coaches).  The only repeat member is three-time All-American Andy Iro, who earned the award in 2005 (Third Team), 2006 (Second Team) and 2007 (Second Team) at UC Santa Barbara.

•  UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara have met in the Big West Tournament finals three times in the 10-year history of the event, but none since 2011.  The Anteaters and Gauchos clashed for the tourney title in 2008 – the inaugural year of the Big West’s postseason event, 2009 and 2011.  UCI won all three meetings, outscoring the Gauchos 11-5.


UC Irvine Clinches Regular Season Title
UC Irvine secured its first Big West regular season championship since 2013 thanks to consecutive double overtime victories over Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly last week.  The Anteaters have 16 points with one game to go, and second place UC Riverside can only accrue a maximum of 15.  UCI will be the No. 1 seed in the six-team Big West Tournament that begins on Oct. 31.  The ‘Eaters have earned a first round bye and a host opportunity for the semifinals on Nov. 3.

Eaters Seek Unblemished Conference Ledger
UC Irvine is 5-0-1 during conference action and seeks to become just the third team to complete the Big West schedule without a loss in the modern era (2001-present).  UC Santa Barbara has fielded two such teams – 2013 (7-0-3) and 2002 (9-0-1).  UCI must first either win or tie at CSUN on Saturday to accomplish the feat.
Highlanders, Gauchos Vie For Other First Round Bye

The top two seeds in the Big West Tournament receive automatic berths into the semifinals.  With UCI already locking up one bye, the other one will go to UC Riverside or UC Santa Barbara.  It’s a simple formula for the Highlanders.  Win or tie against Cal State Fullerton at home on Saturday, and the Highlanders earn the first round bye.  The Gauchos need to defeat Central Coast rival Cal Poly at Harder Stadium, plus hope for a Highlander loss and extra rest and preparation time will be theirs.  UCSB can dip no lower than the tourney No. 3 seed.

Gauchos Put Harder Stadium Win Streak To The Test
UCSB has been dominant at home this season, going a perfect 8-0.  The last obstacle to remaining undefeated on the Harder Stadium turf is none other than arch nemesis Cal Poly, which claimed a 1-0 victory over the Gauchos in a designated non-conference match in San Luis Obispo on Sept. 30.  UCSB has run the table at home just once before during its Big West history – the 2002 squad finished 10-0.  A win would also secure a 10-win season for UCSB for the 17th time in the 18 years.

Three More Tourney Berths At Stake

Five teams are jockeying for three remaining berths in the Big West Tournament with UCI, UCR and UCSB already in.  The trio of Cal State Fullerton, CSUN and UC Davis own the most direct path to the tournament, needing a win on Saturday to get in.  The Titans visit UCR, the Matadors host UCI, and the Aggies travel to Causeway rival Sacramento State.  The Hornets can oust the Aggies from the tourney field with a win over their neighbor, coupled with wins or ties from CSUN and CSF.  Cal Poly has an outside shot of nabbing a spot, but needs to finish in a three-way tie at seven points with CSUN and Sacramento State.  In that scenario, the Mustangs would get in based on the best goal differential in conference games.

Tourney Streaks At Risk
UC Davis has reached the Big West Tournament seven straight seasons, last missing the field in 2010.  CSF has appeared in four consecutive tourney finals, emerging as champion three times (2017, 2015, 2014).  The Titans last failed to make the field in 2013.  CSUN has a streak of three straight tourney trips.  Sacramento State has joined the field in each of the last two seasons.  Cal Poly is hoping to avoid missing the tourney for the second straight year.


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 106-92-40 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 (236, 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 201-296-63 as a head coach, including 44-67-18 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 257-119-47, with 236 of those wins coming while in the Big West.

• CSUN’s Terry Davila surpassed his mentor for the school’s career wins record with a 1-0 triumph over Cal Poly on Oct. 13. 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 193-152-51 overall at the school.

Canales Joins Exclusive Club
UC Irvine senior Ivan Canales became the seventh player in Big West history to accumulate career totals of 20 goals and 20 assists.  He recorded his 20th career assist in Saturday’s 3-2 win at Cal Poly.  Canales is the Big West’s active career leader in goals (25), assists (20), points (70) and shots taken (140).  He is now the conference leader in goals with 10 this season.  His current head coach, Yossi Raz, collected 22 goals and 28 assists at CSUN from 2001-04.

Canales Enters Big West Top 10 For Game-Winning Goals

UCI forward Ivan Canales leads the Big West with six game-winning goals this year, the clinching strike coming in wins against James Madison, Loyola Marymount, Brown, UC Riverside, Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly.  His goal against the Mustangs, coming with just two seconds remaining in overtime, was the ninth game-winner of his career.  That placed him in a tie for eighth all-time in the conference record book with Cal State Fullerton’s Hector Orellana (2001-03).

Career 20 Goals, 20 Assist Club

Name, School Goals Assists Years
Gerrell Elliott, Fresno State 54 28 1988-91
Doug Borgel, UNLV 43 23 1987-90
Luis Silva, UC Santa Barbara 28 23 2008-11
Ivan Canales, UC Irvine 25 20 2015-18
Randy Prescott, Fresno State 23 23 1983-85
Yossi Raz, CSUN 22 28 2001-04
Rich Ryerson, UNLV 20 20 1983-86