UC Irvine Achieves Highest Ranking In School History
Men's Soccer Weekly Release No. 5
The UC Irvine men's soccer team earned its highest ranking in school history when the NSCAA/Continental Tire poll pegged them at No. 4 this week. The Anteaters take their unbeaten 6-0-1 mark to Las Vegas this weekend for the UNLV Rebel Classic.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Streak Ends At Six: Cal Poly extended its unbeaten streak to six straight games after beating San Francisco on Friday, but saw the run of success end in Sunday’s 2-1 setback to Pacific. The six-game streak was the longest for the program since 2008 when that squad went 4-0-2 during one stretch.
LaGrassa Steps Up: Junior midfielder Matt LaGrassa has scored a goal in three of the last four matches, and is tied for second in the Big West with four overall. His goal in the 70th minute against San Francisco accounted for the game-winner and sent home a season-high 6,856 fans happy.
In The Rankings: Cal Poly has scored a conference-best 16 goals, and is tied for No. 19 nationally with 2.00 goals per game.
Hamilton Stout In Goal: Junior goalkeeper Wade Hamilton leads the Big West with 37 saves. He has stopped five or more shots five times in eight games played, and has been in net for all 740 minutes this season.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Rolling: Cal State Fullerton climbed to the .500 mark on the year after dispatching Santa Clara and Nebraska-Omaha at home last week. The Titans, now 3-3-2 overall, play one match at Grand Canyon this week before entering conference play.
Losee Lassoes Pair Of Foes: Senior Garrett Losee provided the game-winning goal in both games last weekend for the Titans. He now sports a team-leading three goals on the year.
Offensive Rebound: After scoring a total of four goals through their first five games, the Titan offense suddenly has gained momentum and has deposited eight goals during the current three-match winning streak.
Peppering The Opponent: The Titans have not been shy on shot opportunities. They outshot Nebraska-Omaha by a 20-4 count and secured their sixth straight contest with double-digit shots. They’ve outshot the opponent in six consecutive contests.
Extra, Extra: CSUN played to overtime for the third time in the last four contests, settling for a scoreless draw against Nebraska-Omaha on Friday. The Matadors are unbeaten in their last five overtime forays with a 3-0-2 record dating to last season.
Different Pace: The Matadors have not been as prolific offensively as they were in 2013. Through the first seven matches last season, CSUN had produced 20 goals. They have managed just seven goals in the same span to begin the 2014 campaign. Senior Sagi Lev-Ari, the conference’s leading goal scorer with 16 last year, has accounted for five of the team’s seven goals.
Hobbsnobbing: Despite the lack of offense, CSUN has been stingy on defense, ranking second in the Big West with a 0.82 goals against average. Junior goalkeeper Adam Hobbs leads the league with a 0.37 GAA, having allowed just two goals in 481 minutes of action. He is also tied for the most shutouts (3) among Big West backstops despite not playing in the first two games of the season.
Feast Or Famine: The Hornets lost a pair of tough 1-0 games at home to Grand Canyon and Air Force last weekend. Sacramento State has been shutout in all four of its losses. On the flip side, the Hornets have scored seven goals in their two wins and one tie.
Copa de Causeway All-Tournament: Sacramento State placed two players – senior forward Chimdum Mez and sophomore defender Javier Muñoz – on the All-Tournament team of the Copa de Causeway.
Defense Tightening Up: After allowing a total of nine goals – three each to Temple, San Diego and Loyola Marymount – through the first three games, the Hornet defense has stiffened. Sacramento State has allowed one goal or less in four consecutive contests.
Homestand Finale: The Hornets finish off a school record seven-match homestand with a Friday game against Saint Mary’s, before heading back out on the road to face Bakersfield on Sunday They have not played a road game since the August 31 season opener at Temple.
Let’s Play Longer: Playing overtime for the sixth time in seven matches this season, UC Davis settled for a pair of 1-1 ties against Air Force and Grand Canyon at the Copa de Causeway Tournament last week.
Record Set: With a 2-0-5 record, the Aggies are off to the best unbeaten start in program history. The five draws also set a school record, eclipsing the previous mark of four set in 2003 and equalled in 2008, 2011 and 2012.
No Lack For Trying: UC Davis fired off 43 shots in two games last week and has taken 57 in its last three outings. The Aggies rank fourth in the Big West with 94 shots taken and are tied for fourth with eight goals scored.
Mohageg With The Dramatics: Junior Lucas Mohageg scored his team-high tying second goal of the year with less than three minutes to play to knot the score at 1-1 against Grand Canyon on Sunday. Mohageg had not scored a goal in 19 previous appearances over the first two seasons he wore the Aggie uniform. Both of Mohageg’s goals have occurred within the last 10 minutes of regulation.
Rank And File: UC Irvine has uncovered new territory in the realm of national rankings, landing the No. 4 spot in this week’s NSCAA/Continental Tire poll. The previous high for the Anteater program was No. 5 in September of 2011.
Overtime Overtures: In addition to beginning the season unbeaten (6-0-1) through seven games, the Anteaters have played in three consecutive overtimes, all with solid results. UCI knocked off Loyola Marymount (3-2 in double OT) and San Diego (1 OT) last week. The last time UCI played three OT matches in a row was October 19-26, 2011.
Indicator Of Success: The Anteaters are 5-0-0 this season when scoring two or more goals, and since the beginning of 2013, have sported an astounding 14-0-2 record when tallying multiple goals.
Balance: Four different Anteaters have racked up game-winning goals to lead to their six wins so far – Eduardo Calzada, Gor Kirakosyan, Dennis Martinez and Mats Bjurman. Kirakosyan was the hero in both UCI wins last week, earning him Big West Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Streak Stopped: The Highlanders ended a four-match slide with a strong defensive effort, producing a scoreless draw against San Diego last Thursday. The two sides had 14 shots apiece and Ashkan Khosravi made five saves for the Highlanders en route to Big West Defensive Player of the Week accolades.
Seeking Offense: After a five goal outburst against Pacific to kick off the season, the Highlanders have managed just two goals in their ensuing five contests.
Hit The Road: UC Riverside plays four straight on the road, beginning this weekend with matches against Utah Valley and UNLV in the Rebel Classic. The Highlanders then turn their attention to conference play where they will begin at Sacramento State (Oct. 2) and UC Davis (Oct. 4).
Shot Taker: Junior forward Michael Salazar ranks third in the Big West with 23 shots taken, trailing only UC Irvine’s Cameron Iwasa (27) and Cal Poly’s Chase Minter (25). Salazar has accounted for more than 28 percent of his team’s total shot attempts.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Tough Loss: Attempting to pull off the upset of No. 2 UCLA, the Gauchos held a 12-8 shot advantage but fell, 1-0, in front of 5,104 fans at Harder Stadium last Saturday. The Gauchos now face their third Pac-12 opponent in four matches when San Diego State visits the Central Coast on Friday.
Equal Distribution: Through the first six contests, the Gauchos do not have a single player with multiple goals scored. Eight different players have scored to this point.
Mr. Active: Freshman Axel Mendez leads the squad with 20 shots, tied for the fifth-best mark in the Big West, and has led or tied for the team lead in that category on four separate occasions.
Uncommon Stat: The Gauchos have not recorded an assist in any of the last five games. UCSB had three assists in the season-opening 2-1 victory against College of Charleston, but since then, have not tallied an assist on any of their next six goals. UCSB tied for third in the Big West last season with 32 helpers.