Central Coast Rivalry, Primetime TV Duel Headline Big West Men's Soccer Slate
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This week in men's soccer is one of the most action packed of the season as the Central Coast rivalry between Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara as well as a televised primetime matchup are on the docket. The Mustangs and Gauchos meet Tuesday night in Santa Barbara, while Harder Stadium will also be the site for a TV matchup between Duke of the ACC and UCSB in Fox Soccer Channel's Game of the Week.
Big West Hits Airwaves This Week
A Big West school will appear on primetime television from coast to coast this week as UC Santa Barbara hosts ACC power Duke in Fox Soccer Channel's Game of the Week Friday night. The Blue Devils and Gauchos are meeting on the pitch for the first time since the 2004 College Cup semifinal in Carson, Calif. That day, former UCSB great Drew McAthy powered the Gauchos to a resounding 5-0 win over Duke on its way to the national title match. This is also the first match for UC Santa Barbara against an ACC foe since playing top-ranked Wake Forest on September 21, 2008.
Central Coast Rivalry 2010
Tuesday will be the first round of the 2010 edition of the Central Coast rivalry as UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly meet on the pitch of Meredith Field at Harder Stadium Tuesday night. The regular season crowds for the match in Harder have been nothing short of amazing in recent years as 8,102 came in 2007, 9,749 in 2008 and 5,842 last season. On the pitch, the game has been full of heart stopping moments as six of the last seven matches have been one-goal contests, including a UCSB win via penalty kicks in a 2008 Big West Tournament semifinal.
UCI In Control
UC Irvine extended its Big West-best record to 10-1-1 with a pair of league wins last week against UC Davis and Cal Poly. The 'Eaters have nine points in the conference standings, three ahead of UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton. UCI has a light week in store with only one match, but it will be a difficult road challenge as Cal Poly awaits them in Spanos Stadium. The last time the Anteaters and Mustangs got together in Spanos was a Big West Tournament semifinal last season when UCI scored in double overtime to advance to the title match.
Can We Just Cut Those 10 Minutes Out?
UC Davis was playing even with UC Irvine during its match last week, as both clubs were scoreless through 59 minutes. Then the 60th minute came on the clock and suddenly UCI broke out. The Anteaters scored three times in the 10-minute period between between the 60th and 70th minutes, including twice in a little over two minutes late in that time span. The Aggie nightmare reached a climax in that 10-minute period when the club was awarded a red card less than a minute prior to the third goal.
We Can Score...Or We Can Pass
Two Big West players have shown an ability to put the ball in the back of the net or pass it to an open teammate with stunning regularity. UC Irvine's Spencer Thompson has shown remarkable consistency as he has five goals and five assists in 12 matches, while UC Santa Barbara's Sam Garza has also shown deft playmaking skills with four goals and three assists in nine matches. The duo are the only players in the Big West to have recorded at least four goals and three assists at this point in the season.
A pair of Big West coaches are either on the verge or have already recorded historic achievements this season.
Cal State Northridge head coach Terry Davila won his 50th Big West match against Cal State Fullerton on October 2, becoming just the third coach in conference history to win at least 50 league matches. Davila is also just two wins away from 100 overall victories during Big West membership, which would make him the sixth coach in league lore to accomplish that feat.
Meanwhile, UC Irvine head man George Kuntz has achieved Davila’s accomplishments in reverse as Kuntz won his 100th game in the league last weekend and needs seven more wins for 50 Big West victories. When both men get to 100 overall and 50 league W's, that will make them the third and fourth coaches all-time to get those numbers in Big West history.
CSUN's Scoring Streak Ends
Cal State Northridge was rolling with nine goals in three games, but the Matador offense was halted by UC Davis in a 1-0 loss last weekend. CSUN scored multiple goals in three consecutive games prior to the loss the Aggies, the first time they’ve done that since a four-game multi-score streak early in the 2009 season.
This Is A Good Start
Cal State Fullerton hasn't had great results in league play as of late but the Titans’ 2-2-0 start to Big West play this season has them full of optimism. One of those wins was against preseason favorite UC Santa Barbara, snapping an 11-match losing streak to the Gauchos. If CSF can reach four conference wins for the second straight season, it'll be the first time since the 2001-02 seasons that they have accomplished that feat.
UCSB's Hayden Chosen As Finalist for Lowe’s Award
Ten NCAA men's soccer student-athletes who excel both on and off the field were selected as finalists for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and included in the elite group is UCSB senior goalkeeper Sam Hayden. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.
Hayden, the Gauchos' starting goalkeeper, is in his second year at UCSB after transferring from Yavapai College. He was named the 2009 Big West Goalkeeper of the Year, First Team All-Big West, Second Team All-Far West Region and the LA Soccer News Men's Player of the Year after recording a school and conference record 16 shutouts last season. Hayden has also volunteered his time to give back to the local soccer community, helping organize the Santa Barbara Soccer Camps and the Santa Barbara Fiesta Tournament. Along with the rest of his teammates and the UCSB women's soccer team, he helped run AYSO practice sessions during the month of September.
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.