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Men's Soccer

UC Riverside Looking To Set Mark For Non-Conference Wins

Files associated with this release:
Mens Soccer Release No. 5

Links associated with this release:
This Week in the Big West - September 19-25, 2011


Above the .500 mark for the first time since late in the 2007 season, UC Riverside (3-2-1) travels to the Sunshine State this week needing a sweep of North Florida and Jacksonville to finish with its highest nonconference victory total in program history.



Omar Zeenni, UC Davis
Zeenni has been stellar for the Aggies in goal with a 0.65 goals against average.  He has allowed no more than one goal in any match and has posted two shutouts to his credit.  Zeenni ranks third in the Big West in GAA and second in save percentage.  His .848 save percentage places him 25th nationally.  Despite Zeenni’s impressive play, the Aggies have not backed him up on offense.  UCD has scored just four goals through seven matches, including being shutout in three straight.


UC Santa Barbara Cast In Favorite’s Role In 2011
The seven Big West men’s soccer coaches tabbed UC Santa Barbara to capture the 2011 regular season crown.  The Gauchos nabbed six of the seven first-place votes while Cal Poly received the remaining first-place nod.  UCSB, which has claimed three of the last five Big West regular season championships, collected 48 points overall.  The Mustangs were picked to finish second with 40 points.  Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine earned 32 and 30 points for third and fourth place, respectively.  Rounding out the poll was Cal State Northridge (20 points), UC Davis (14) and UC Riverside (12).  UC Santa Barbara returns six starters and 14 letterwinners from the 2010 team that finished 14-5-3 overall, won the Big West Tournament and made the program’s ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

Non-Conference Turnaround
All seven Big West men’s soccer programs have either equalled or exceeded their non-conference win totals (not counting postseason play) from a year ago – with opportunities for more wins this week.  Cal State Fullerton has enjoyed the biggest improvement from two non-conference wins in 2010 to five this season.  The Big West is among the nation’s top conferences with a sparkling 26-13-8 non-league record.

School                        2010     2011      Games Left
Cal Poly                       3-3-1    3-2-2      1
Cal State Fullerton       2-5-2    5-1-1      2
Cal State Northridge    1-7-1    2-3-1      3
UC Davis                      2-6-0    2-3-2     1
UC Irvine                      7-1-1    7-1-0     2
UC Riverside                3-4-1    3-2-1     2
UC Santa Barbara       4-2-2     4-1-1     3

UC Riverside Making Strides
UC Riverside (3-2-1) is above the .500 mark for the first time since late in the 2007 season.  The Highlanders need four more wins to tie the school record for wins in a season, set by the 2003 and 2004 squads with seven.  Moreover, UCR is aiming to finish non-conference play with a winning record for just the second time in program history (2007, 3-2-2).  The Highlanders also could tie or surpass the program record for most non-conference wins in a season (4 in 2003) when they travel to North Florida and Jacksonville this weekend.

Fontein Second In Big West History For Wins
Andrew Fontein has earned the decision in all seven UC Irvine victories this season, giving the senior netminder 41 career wins.  That mark ranks second all-time on the Big West career chart, trailing only Dan Kennedy of UC Santa Barbara who amassed 63 wins from 2001-04.

Overtime Options
Seventeen of the 47 non-conference games Big West teams have played have reached overtime.  That represents 36 percent of the overall schedule to date.  Some other notables about the Big West and overtime.

• Of the 17 “extra time” games, 13 have gone to double overtime.
• The Big West’s overall record in overtime games is 5-4-8.

• All seven teams have played at least one overtime game.  UC Davis has been involved in the most – five – sporting a 2-1-2 record.

Team                            Overall    1OT      2OT
Cal Poly                         0-1-2      0-0-0     0-1-2
Cal State Fullerton         0-0-1      0-0-0     0-0-1
Cal State Northridge      0-2-1      0-1-0     0-1-1
UC Davis                       2-1-2      1-1-0      1-0-2
UC Irvine                       2-0-0      0-0-0      2-0-0
UC Riverside                 0-0-1      0-0-0      0-0-1
UC Santa Barbara         1-0-1      1-0-0      0-0-1

Poll Chatter
For the third consecutive week, UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara are both ranked in the top 10 of at least one of the four major polls.  The Gauchos have been ranked anywhere from sixth to ninth since the preseason.  The Anteaters made their top 10 debut on Sept. 5 at No. 9 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire poll and achieved the program’s highest ranking – No. 5 – last week.

This week UC Irvine is No. 8 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire poll, No. 10 in Soccer America and Soccer Times, and No. 13 in College Soccer News.  UC Santa Barbara’s highest ranking resides with College Soccer News at No. 8.  The Gauchos are also recognized by Soccer America (No. 9), Soccer Times (No. 11) and the NSCAA/Continental Tire (No. 13) polls.  Cal State Fullerton is receiving votes in the NSCAA/Continental Tire and Soccer Times polls.

Close Encounters

Each of Cal Poly’s seven games have ended up as a scoreless draw or decided by one goal.  Neither the Mustangs nor their opponent have scored more than two goals in a game all season.  Cal Poly lost a heartbreaking 1-0 decision at No. 3 Akron on Sunday, felled by a penalty kick in the 83rd minute.  In the first game of the Akron Tournament, Cal Poly scored multiple goals for the first time all season in a 2-1 victory against Syracuse.

Gaucho Trio Taking Offensive Reins
The majority of UC Santa Barbara’s offense is unsurprisingly coming from its trio of all-conference performers – David Opoku, Sam Garza and Luis Silva.  The three have combined for eight of the team’s 11 goals, including a team-high four by Opoku.  The trio also have taken 55 of the Gauchos’ 90 shots.

Light Schedule Ahead This Week
The final week of non-conference play features just 10 games on the Big West slate.  Eight of the 10 games take place on Big West home pitches, a good thing since the conference owns a cumulative 14-3-6 mark at home this season.  Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton host Denver, while UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara entertain Sacramento State among common opponents this week.