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Men's Soccer

UC Davis, UC Irvine Atop Men's Soccer Standings Heading Into Home Stretch

Files associated with this release:
Mens Soccer Release No. 10

10/24/2011

UC Davis and UC Irvine share first place with identical 5-2-0 conference records with three games to play.  The Aggies are on a quest for their first Big West title, while the Anteaters are aiming for their third regular season championship in the last four seasons.

AROUND THE BIG WEST

KEEP AN EYE ON

Miguel Ibarra, UC Irvine
Ibarra has recorded at least one point in five of the last seven contests for UC Irvine.  He was credited with the game-winning assist in the Anteaters’ 1-0 overtime victory over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.  Ibarra moved into a tie for the lead in the Big West with seven assists.  Along with his six goals, Ibarra is tied for second in the conference with teammate Christian Hernandez with 19 points.  Ibarra has been involved in over one-third of UCI’s 36 goals this season.

MORE NOTABLES

UC Davis, UC Irvine Locked In First Place Tie
With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the race for the Big West title is intensifying.  Three consecutive 2-1 conference victories has vaulted UC Davis into a tie with UC Irvine for the coveted top spot in the Big West standings.  Both the Aggies and Anteaters have 15 points with 5-2-0 league records.  Upstart UC Riverside sits in third place with 10 points at 3-3-1 while Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly own a share of fourth place with nine points.  However, the Matadors (3-3-0) have played one less conference match than the Mustangs (3-4-0).  Preseason favorite UC Santa Barbara is in unfamiliar territory.  The Gauchos are in sixth place at 2-4-0.  Cal State Fullerton rounds out the standings with four points (1-4-1).

Tournament Drive Heats Up
The top four teams in the final regular season standings advance to the fourth annual Big West Tournament, which will be held November 9 and 12 at campus sites with the No. 1 seed hosting the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed hosting the No. 3 seed in the semifinals.  The championship game will be hosted by the highest remaining seed.  UC Irvine and UC Davis have the inside track on clinching two of the tournament berths as current co-leaders in the standings.  UC Riverside is in solid position to nab its first berth to the conference postseason tournament, but still has some work to do.  Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara need furious finishes to secure tournament bids.  Cal State Fullerton faces an uphill climb but still has a shot if it can get hot right now.  

Aggies Sniff First Big West Title
UC Davis is on the verge of bringing home its first Big West regular season championship.  The Aggies took a gigantic step toward that goal on Wednesday when they upended then-No. 7 UC Irvine by a 2-1 score in overtime.  UCD’s best previous finish was a second place showing in 2007, the program’s inaugural year of Big West membership.  The Aggies face a huge test this week in a wounded UC Santa Barbara, which is in dire need of a win on its home pitch Wednesday.  Fellow conference co-leader UC Irvine travels up north to take on Cal State Northridge that same night.

UC Davis Closing In On NCAA Overtime Record
A hallmark of the UC Davis program this season is its penchant for playing in tight games.  In fact, 14 of the 15 Aggie games have been decided by one goal or resulted in a tie.  In fact, UCD has played in six straight one-goal contests.  The Aggies also have been involved in a ton of overtime games – nine to be exact.  They are inching closer to the NCAA record of 11 OT games, set by Saint Louis in 2003 and San Diego State again in 2009.

Return To Winner’s Circle Within Grasp For UCI
UC Irvine is searching for its third Big West regular season championship in four years.  The Anteaters have road games against Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly sandwiched around its home finale with UC Riverside.  The Anteaters do not appear to be too concerned with playing on the road.  In fact, they are 3-0-0 on the road in league play this season.  In contrast, UCI has lost twice at home during conference action.

Highlander Happenings
UC Riverside rewrote the school record book thanks to wins against Cal State Northridge and UC Santa Barbara last week.  The victories improved the Highlander record to 8-5-2 overall and 3-3-1 in league play, putting the squad in third place and in line for a Big West Tournament bid.  The Highlanders also established a new benchmark for wins, breaking the previous record of seven set by the 2003 and 2004 squads.  UCR now shoots to exceed its best conference finish, which was the third place showing that the 2004 (13 points, 4-5-1) squad accomplished.

Ranking Rumblings
UC Riverside’s 3-2 win over then-No. 15 UC Santa Barbara on Saturday secured the program’s first season sweep of the Gauchos and marked the first time UCR had beaten UCSB on its home pitch (1-8-1).    The Highlanders have now beaten three ranked opponents in the program’s 10-plus year Division I history, which included a 3-1 victory at home on Sept. 28 against then-No. 7 UCSB.

Treacherous Territory
UC Santa Barbara had lost a combined five league games over the previous three seasons, collecting a impressive 20-5-5 (.750) mark during that stretch.  In 2011, the Gauchos have lost four league contests.  That had never before happened in the modern day era (2001-2011) of the Big West.  The previous high for conference losses was three in 2003 and 2006.  The last time a Tim Vom Steeg club lost four conference games at UCSB occurred in 2000 when the program was a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.  The Gauchos finished 2-4-1 in the MPSF that year, just Vom Steeg’s second season at the helm.

‘Dors Deal Bruins Defeat
Four goals in its previous four matches resulted in a 1-3 record for Cal State Northridge.  Needing an infusion of offense, the Matadors could not have picked a better time to follow through than against No. 7 UCLA.  They used two goals in the final eight minutes to overcome a late deficit and win 3-2 on Saturday in Westwood.  The victory was the first in CSUN history at UCLA and improved the Matador record all-time against the Bruins to 2-13-3.  It was the second win in five seasons against UCLA as the other triumph occurred on Sept. 29, 2007, a 3-0 shutout in Northridge.

McLain Stellar In Goal
Cal Poly senior goalkeeper Patrick McLain leads the Big West with a 0.92 goals against average, having allowed just 13 goals in 14 games this season.  He is also tied for second in Big West shutouts with five.  McLain’s goalkeeping and his surrounding defense have kept the Mustangs in games all season as the team is tied for last in the conference in goals (15).

Offensive Elixir Needed
Cal State Fullerton’s offensive woes have continued, scoring just three goals in the previous seven games.  The Titans had scored 18 goals during one six-game stretch earlier in the season.