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Men's Soccer

Men's Soccer Title, Tournament Berths On Line This Week

Files associated with this release:
Mens Soccer Release No. 11

11/1/2011

Big West men's soccer looks forward to a furious finish in the final week of conference action as the regular season championship and four tournament berths are up for grabs.

AROUND THE BIG WEST

KEEP AN EYE ON

Cesar Diaz Pizarro, UC Riverside

Pizarro is the focal point of a UC Riverside offense that has scored 27 goals this season.  The senior has accounted for a team-high nine of those goals.  Six Highlanders are tied for second on the squad with two goals apiece.  Pizarro notched two goals and an assist last week as the Highlanders tied Cal State Fullerton and downed then-No. 9 UC Irvine.  For his efforts, Pizarro was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week.  He now ranks second in UCR history with career totals of 20 goals and 47 points.  Pizarro’s 21 points (9 goals, 3 assists) is right on the heels of Luc Harrington’s single-season record of 22 (9 goals, 4 assists) that he set in 2004.  In addition, Pizarro’s game-winning goal against UCI gave him four for the season and eight for his career, both school records.  

MORE NOTABLES

UC Davis Controls Destiny For League Title

The current leader in the Big West standings is UC Irvine, which sports a 5-3-1 record with 16 points.  The Anteaters have an opportunity to extend that lead on Tuesday when they travel to Cal Poly for their regular season finale, but even a successful outcome will not guarantee UCI a first place finish.  The team with the clearest path to the Big West regular season title is UC Davis.  The second place Aggies are 5-3-0 (15 points) in conference action with two crucial games remaining.  UCD hosts Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday and travels to UC Riverside on Saturday.  Two victories will clinch the program’s first conference championship regardless of what anyone else does on the pitch this week.  A win and a tie, coupled with a UCI win, would give both programs 19 points and a share of the championship, but the Aggies would gain the No. 1 seed for next week’s Big West Tournament by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker advantage.  UCD defeated UCI 2-1 in overtime on Oct. 19. 

Topsy Turvy Tournament Tussle
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.  Six teams are in contention for the four spots entering the final week of regular season play.  Just four points separate the fourth place team from first place.  Only two points separate the sixth place team from the fourth spot.  UCI leads the logjam at 16 points followed by UC Davis (15) and UC Riverside (14).  UC Santa Barbara (12 points), Cal State Northridge (11) and Cal Poly (10) are nipping at everyone else’s heels.  The tiebreaker possibilities are too numerous to list here, but for the sake of simplicity UCI clinches a berth with a win or tie against Cal Poly on Tuesday.  In addition, UCR punches its tournament ticket with a win against UCD on Saturday, but may gain entry prior to that depending on outcomes of games earlier in the week.  UCD is definitely in with a win against Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday.  The UC Santa Barbara-Cal State Northridge match on Wednesday looms large.  The Matadors are eliminated from tournament contention with a loss.  The Gauchos can still get in with a loss to CSUN, but they would rest their tournament fate on other outcomes.  A win and a tie guarantees a berth for UCSB.

NCAA Ratings Percentage Index Favors Big West

The latest release of the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) on Tuesday showed that the Big West is a powerhouse conference.  Six of the seven Big West schools are slotted in the top 55, led by UC Irvine at No. 7 and UC Santa Barbara at No. 14.  UC Riverside, with wins over three nationally ranked teams (UC Santa Barbara twice, UC Irvine once), is third among Big West schools with an RPI of 30.  UC Davis (50), Cal State Fullerton (53) and Cal State Northridge (54) are bunched together.  The Big West ranks third nationally with six schools in the RPI top 55, and is one of only five conferences with three teams in the RPI top 30.

CONFERENCES WITH TEAMS IN NCAA RPI TOP 55
as of Nov. 1

Conference Teams
Big East 9
ACC 7
Big West 6
Colonial 5
C-USA 5

CONFERENCES WITH TEAMS IN NCAA RPI TOP 30
as of Nov. 1

Conference Teams
Big East 6
ACC 5
Big West 3
Colonial 3
C-USA 3

Central Coast Rivalry Televised Nationally
Billed the top rivalry in the country by College Soccer News, UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly will be on display this Friday on the NSCAA Game of the Week.  A national television audience will witness the showdown at UCSB’s Meredith Field at Harder Stadium on Fox Soccer Channel.  When the two teams met in San Luis Obispo on Oct. 14, the Mustangs registered a 2-1 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 11,075.  The Gauchos hope to return the favor and surpass that total when the cameras roll for the 7:00 p.m. kickoff.  UCSB attracted the nation’s largest crowd of the season on Sept. 23 when 13,772 watched the Gauchos defeat San Diego 3-0.  Not that any extra motivation is needed for this matchup, but it is possible that one of these teams will be eliminated from Big West Tournament contention with a loss.   

Silva Enters Big West Career Top 10 For Assists
UC Santa Barbara senior Luis Silva leads the Big West in goals (13) and points (34), and is tied for the league lead with eight assists in what makes him a leading candidate for Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2011.  After posting three assists last week in wins over UC Davis and Cal State Fullerton, Silva reached a milestone in that he joined the Big West career top 10.  Silva moved into a tie for ninth all-time with Cal State Northridge’s Sunghyun Kim (2006-09) with 21 assists.  He is only four assists away from climbing into the top five.  In addition, Silva’s 69 career points (24 goals, 21 assists) puts him just three shy of the league’s top 10.

Fontein In Top Five For Career Shutouts
UC Irvine senior goalkeeper Andrew Fontein is tied with Cal State Northridge’s Michael Abalos for the Big West lead with seven shutouts.  The seven clean sheets give Fontein 27 for his career, which puts him fourth all-time in the Big West record book.  Fontein, who has not missed a minute of time this season, is also second in league history with 47 goalie wins.

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