UC Davis Hosts UC Irvine in Aggies' First Night Home Game in Program History
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This week's men's soccer schedule, the first of 2010 to feature nothing but conference matches, features a program first as UC Davis hosts its first night game in program history. The Aggies will take on two-time defending league tournament champion UC Irvine at Aggie Stadium, the first of four home matches at night for UCD.
All Conference, All The Time
This week marks the first occasion that the men's soccer schedule is littered with nothing but conference showdowns. Wednesday has Cal State Northridge visiting Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton hitting the road looking for a season sweep against UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine packing its bags for Northern California for a match against UC Davis.
Saturday has the Aggies heading to the Valley to take on CSUN, the Mustangs heading to UCI in a rematch of an '09 Big West Tournament semifinal and CSF heading to the Inland Empire to take on UC Riverside.
The young Cal State Northridge side is showing signs of coming of age as the club has been impressive over its last two outings. The Matadors have won their last two games by a combined score of 7-0 over Air Force and Cal State Fullerton. This comes after the team mustered just three times in seven matches prior to the Falcon game. This also marks the first time since November 2008 that CSUN has scored three or more goals in consecutive games. That season, the Matadors put three in the back of the net in back-to-back road games against UC Riverside (11/1/08) and Cal State Fullerton (11/5/08).
This Time It Ended Well
You’d have to excuse UC Santa Barbara if its a little apprehensive these days when it comes to overtime contests, but UCSB finally got over the hump last weekend against UC Davis. Prior to the OT win against the Aggies, the Gauchos were 0-2-2 in matches that featured an extra session. UC Santa Barbara has gotten used to playing an extra session or two as its five overtime games is the most in the Big West.
Come Forward For The Attack
UC Irvine has played some stellar defense so far with just three goals allowed in 10 matches, but those defenders have also pressed forward to help the attack. Of the 25 goals scored by the Anteaters, eight have been scored by primarily defensive players. In addition, of the eight game-winning goals scored by UCI players, four of those tallies have come from defenders.
Cal Poly’s David Zamora entered the year on the verge of entering the top 10 Big West career list in goals, looking to cement his status as a primetime striker. But the script has flipped for Zamora as he owns no goals, but a team-leading four assists, a figure that’s also tied for second in the league. The four helpers is one off his career high set back in his freshman season of 2007, and is half the total number of assists Zamora has collected in the past three seasons, combined.
These Keepers Are Good Too
There have been some impressive goalkeeping numbers put up by the likes of UC Irvine's Andrew Fontein and UC Santa Barbara's Sam Hayden, but a couple of other keepers have excellent lines as well.
Cal State Fullerton's Trevor Whiddon has been tough on Titan foes, posting a 1.47 goals against average, 48 saves, three shutouts and ranking 17th in the country in saves per game with 5.33 an outing. Whiddon also has the most saves in a game this season with 10 in CSF’s 1-0 overtime win over UC Santa Barbara.
UC Riverside's Nick Goldreich is also ranked in saves per game in the NCAA, coming in at 28th with 5.0 per match. He also leads the Big West in saves (50), has posted a goals against average of 1.49 and has recorded a pair of shutouts.
Cal Poly's Brett Finkelstein started out the year as a backup, but has come to the forefront for the Mustangs in place of injured starter Patrick McLain. He has posted a 1.66 goals against average, 17 saves and notched a shutout last weekend. He would be leading the league with his 5.67 saves per game average, but has only played in three of the Mustangs’ eight matches.
The Big West has been one of the top defensive leagues in the country as six of the seven teams in the league own goals against average figures under 1.50, including two under 1.00. If all seven teams finish with a gaa figure under 1.50, it would mark the first time since 2007 that all teams finished under that number.
Hit The Lights!
The thrill of home night games finally hits UC Davis as the Aggies will host four of its five conference games at Aggie Stadium. Starting this Wednesday against UC Irvine, the football stadium will host soccer matches at night for the first time in program history.
Not Many Can Claim That
There are plenty of clubs around with good offenses and defense, but UC Irvine is in select company with this stat. The Anteaters are one of three teams that rank in the top 10 in the NCAA in scoring offense and goals against average. UCI is tied for seventh in offense (2.50) and third in gaa (0.29) to join Connecticut (t-1st goals per game, 5th gaa) and Akron (t-7th goals per game, 3rd gaa).
College Cup The Goal
The College Cup is the goal for each DI men's soccer program, but this season the showcase event has a Big West feel. For the first time since 2006, the College Cup will be held at an on-campus venue as UC Santa Barbara hosts the showcase at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium December 10-12. The 17,000-seat venue will have an improved look as a new field, pressbox and plaza are among the many improvements geared at preparing the stadium for the College Cup.
UCI's Thompson Named to MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List
UC Irvine's Spencer Thompson will have even more attention thrust on his shoulders this season as the senior was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, the preseason ledger of the highest individual award in intercollegiate soccer. The native of Ahwatukee, Ariz., is one of 39 players on the initial list and the lone player from a Big West school. Thompson was named to the list following a 2009 season in which he recorded 18 points (7 g, 4 a) and was named first team All-Big West and first team All-Far West region. The recipients of the MAC Hermann Trophy are selected by NCAA Division I coaches who are members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Voting for the MAC Hermann Trophy is conducted in late November, when a field of 15 semifinalists is reduced to three finalists. Those three will be invited to the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis on Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, where a news conference will be held to announce the winner, followed by a banquet to honor the three finalists.