UC Santa Barbara is heading to the second round of the 2010 NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament, a round which sees it take on Pac-10 champion California in Berkeley at 1:30 pm Sunday.
The Gauchos advanced to the second round after winning its first round match over Denver, 1-0, at home. The double overtime affair was dominated by UCSB as the club outshot the Pioneers 31-4 and had an 11-0 advantage in corners. Waid Ibrahim finally got the game-winner past DU goalie Joe Willis in the 105th minute, sending the home team to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the ninth straight season.
The Golden Bears are the #6 seed in this season’s tournament after going 12-2-3 overall and winning the Pac-10 with an 8-1-1 record. California is a stout defensive unit that has allowed just 13 goals all season, led by their goalkeeper David Bingham who has a 0.77 goals against average, 105 saves and seven shutouts. Offensively, the squad is led by Davis Paul who leads the team in goals (7), assists (13) and points (27), while Servando Carrasco (6 g, 3 a) and John Fitzpatrick (5 g, 3 a) have also had stellar offensive seasons.
The two clubs are very familiar with one another as they have played on 29 occasions all-time. California leads the series 15-11-3 and won the previous matchup in 2008. That year, #15 seed UCSB hosted California in a second round NCAA match that the Golden Bears won in thrilling fashion, 3-2 in double overtime. The last time the Gauchos beat California was also an NCAA match as #11 seed UCSB won 2-0 in a second round game.
UC Santa Barbara has a rich postseason history as the club owns a 16-6-2 record all-time in the NCAAs, a victory total that includes the 2006 National Championship. The Gauchos have won at least one tournament game in eight of their nine straight postseason showings, have made two College Cups (2004, ‘06) and have made it to at least to the Sweet 16 on three occasions.
UCSB has a bit of incentive this NCAA Tournament as the College Cup is being held at their home venue, Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. It marks the first West Coast host for the College Cup since the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., hosted the championship back in 2006.