UC Irvine Battles Pair Of Ranked Opponents
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This Week in the Big West - September 9-15, 2013
Men's Soccer Release No. 3
This week's Big West men's soccer schedule features four games against ranked opponents, including UC Irvine's eastward trek against No. 16 Louisville and No. 20 Indiana. Cal State Northridge, which vaulted to No. 11 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire poll, travels to No. 7 New Mexico while UC Santa Barbara tangles with No. 14 UCLA.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Big Victory: The Mustangs knocked off then-No. 6 UCLA, 3-0, on Thursday in what represented the highest-ranked win in school history. Cal Poly handed then-No. 7 UC Irvine a defeat on Sept. 28, 2011 for its previous highest ranked win. It also marked the program’s second win all-time in nine Division I meetings against the Bruins.
Ranking Rumblings: Toppling ranked opponents is nothing new to the Cal Poly program under head coach Paul Holocher. The win over UCLA marked the fourth straight year that the Mustangs have beaten a ranked opponent. It was also CP’s sixth win against a top-25 foe since 2010.
Feast Or Famine: In Cal Poly’s two victories over Drake and UCLA, the team has scored a combined seven goals. In the two losses to Creighton and Gonzaga, the Mustangs have been blanked.
Home Field Anamoly: The loss to Gonzaga was Cal Poly’s first in a home opener since 2009.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Tough Setbacks: Cal State Fullerton lost back-to-back contests last week to Loyola Marymount (2-0) and San Diego (3-2 in 2 OT). The defeat to the Toreros was particularly frustrating as the Titans owned a 2-0 lead midway through the second half. The overtime loss was CSF’s first since Nov. 4, 2009, breaking a streak of five straight extra time matches in which Fullerton hadn’t lost.
Pack Those Bags: The contest against San Diego began a four-game roadtrip that gets decidedly further in distance the next two weeks. The Titans head east this week to face Cornell and Colgate, then journey to the heartland the following Saturday to meet Nebraska-Omaha.
That’s A First: Junior college transfers Alex Cannas and Amara Soumah netted their first career goals as Titans in the San Diego match.
Balance: The five goals the Titans have scored so far this season have come from five different players.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Goal Factory: Cal State Northridge continues to manufacture scoring at a highly productive rate with its third and fourth straight multi-goal performances. The Matadors knocked off San Diego and Saint Mary’s by identical 2-1 scores last week. CSUN already has amassed 11 goals in four matches.
Best Start: The 4-0 Matadors are off to their best start in Division I history. In 1987, CSUN began the season 6-0 as a member of Division II. For this year’s outfit to equal that mark, it is going to take victories against Central Arkansas and nationally-ranked New Mexico this week. CSUN travels to the TLC Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Lobo Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M.
Lending A Foot: Senior Carlos Benavides is poised to enter the Big West career top 10 in assists. The midfielder, who led the conference with 10 assists in 2012, is tied currently tied for No. 11 in Big West annals with 19 career helpers. He needs two more to tie former Matador Sunghyun Kim (2006-09) for the No. 10 slot.
Copacabana: Sacramento State lost 3-0 to Cal State Bakersfield and earned a 1-1 draw against Seattle to conclude play in the Copa de Causeway. Senior Gabe Silveira scored the lone Hornet goal in the 47th minute to equalize against the Redhawks.
Keeping The Streak Alive: The tie against Seattle continued an impressive streak that has lasted since the 2010 season opener. Sacramento State has managed to win or tie in each of its last 22 overtime games. The program is 10-0-12 in those games since dropping a 4-3 double overtime heartbreaker to North Carolina State in 2010.
Homestand Continues: The Hornets conclude a season-high three-match homestand against San Francisco on Thursday. They then embark on a four-game roadtrip starting on Saturday at Saint Mary’s. Sacramento State does not return to Hornet Soccer Field until its Big West opener on Oct. 4 versus Cal State Northridge.
Castillo Solid So Far: Senior goalkeeper Cesar Castillo is fourth in the Big West with 11 saves.
Into The Win Column: The Aggies found the win column for the first time this season with a 1-0 victory against Seattle in the Copa de Causeway on Friday. Junior Matt Sheldon collected the first UC Davis goal of 2013. UCD lost the second match of the tournament to Cal State Bakersfield, 3-0, marking the third time this season the Aggies have been shutout.
Stats Don’t Tell The Whole Story: Despite a 1-3 record and just one goal in those four matches, UC Davis is generating opportunities. The Aggies have doubled up their opponents on shot attempts (84-42) and own a 25-18 edge in shots on goal.
West Coast Tour: UC Davis begins a four-game tour versus the West Coast Conference with a road match against Saint Mary’s on Thursday. The Aggies then host San Francisco on Sunday before heading back on the road against San Diego and Loyola Marymount the following weekend.
Take Your Shot: Senior Alex Aguiar’s 15 shots rank second among Big West players.
Off To A Good Start: UC Irvine started off a four-match roadtrip on a successful note, defeating San Diego State 1-0 on Saturday. Junior Dennis Martinez scored his first career goal on a header off of a cross from Cameron Iwasa in the 78th minute. UCI remained unbeaten at 2-0-1 on the season.
Testing That Mettle: The opportunity to discover just where they stand among the nation’s best sits in front of the Anteaters this week as they journey east to take on three formidable opponents in a six-day span. After facing Xavier on Tuesday, UCI suits up against No. 16 Louisville and No. 20 Indiana over the weekend. The last time UCI defeated a ranked non-conference opponent on the road was Oct. 7, 2009, a 2-1 overtime win over No. 24 New Mexico.
D-Fense: UC Irvine owns a sparkling 0.62 goals against average through three contests, which ranks second in the Big West. Sophomore Michael Breslin has recorded two shutouts in goal for the Anteaters. He has five career clean sheets, tying him for No. 10 in school history.
Another Great Start: UC Riverside improved to 4-0 on the season with a pair of victories at the UNLV Nike Invitational last weekend. The Highlanders blanked Georgia State (2-0) and used last second heroics to defeat Bradley by a 3-2 margin. Ivan Garcia scored with 30 seconds left in regulation to secure the win. The 4-0 start ties the 2012 squad for the best four-match start in program history. Last year’s club began the year 7-0.
Multi Goal Event: Not only did Garcia notch the game-winner against Bradley, he scored twice in the match to become the first Highlander multi-goal scorer in 2013. The last UC Riverside player to score two goals in a match was Richie Osborne against UC Irvine on Oct. 31, 2012. Garcia joined Ulises Mosqueda and Hayden Leslie on the UNLV Invitational All-Tournament Team.
K.C. And The Shutout Band: Junior goalkeeper K.C. John and the UC Riverside defense have been outstanding through the first four matches, allowing a league-low tying two goals. John has collected a Big West-leading three shutouts.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Stumbling Block: After an opening weekend sweep of No. 19 Northwestern and Illinois-Chicago, UC Santa Barbara’s momentum was blunted a bit in a 2-0 loss to Gonzaga last Friday. It also represented UCSB’s fourth straight loss at Harder Stadium, dating back to last season.
Back At It: UC Santa Barbara is not waiting long for another stiff test as a road date at No. 14 UCLA awaits. The now annual showdown between the two powerhouses has reaped varying results for UCSB, which has produced a win, two ties and two losses over the last five seasons.
Familiar Surroundings: After the UCLA match, the Gauchos settle in at home for quite some time as their next seven matches are slated for Harder Stadium. UCSB returns home to face Penn on Sunday. The Gauchos are 38-14-3 at home over the last five-plus seasons.
Campion Creating Chances: Senior forward Achille Campion was limited to just two shots in the first two matches, but he took five shots in the Gonzaga contest.